The Tampa Bay Rowdies advanced to the 2012 NASL Finals on Saturday night after playing the Carolina Railhawks to a 3-3 draw at Al Lang Stadium.
The Rowdies rallied from two goals down with three of their own to edge Carolina on an aggregate of 5-4. Tampa Bay won the first leg 2-1 and needed just a tie or better to advance in St. Petersburg.
That outcome seemed unlikely after Carolina jumped out to a 2-0 lead 18 minutes into the game. However, a Shane Hill goal on a well taken penalty kick just before the half gave the Rowdies some momentum into the half.
Tampa Bay then tied the game in the 65th minute when Mike Ambersley beat Carolina keeper Ray Burse on a pass from Luke Mulholland. Mulholland then delivered the sealer in the 84th minute when he finished on his own rebound off the crossbar to give the Rowdies the 5-3 advantage on aggregate.
"I was really delighted with the players," Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill said after the game. "With their resilience and their resolve that they showed when they were two-nil down."
The Rowdies advance to the NASL Soccer Bowl, which will be a two leg series starting on Saturday, October 20th and Saturday, October 27th. The Rowdies will either play the San Antonio Scorpions or the Minnesota Stars with one game being on the road and the other being at home in St. Petersburg at Al Lang Stadium.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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