It was the shot that echoed around the soccer world -- the Tampa Bay Rowdies pull of the biggest upset, arguably in franchise history: A shutout over the three-time US Open Cup champions. The loss also ends the Seattle Sounders' streak of six straight years of making it to the semi-finals of the Cup tournament.
"We wanted this win," said Rowdies goaltender Diego Restrepo. "We wanted to show ourselves we are good enough to compete with MLS teams. We want to continue this run in the Open Cup and also in the league (NASL).
Winning the NASL Championship for the second time last season was a crowning moment for the Rowdies, but the win over an MLS team with Seattle's credentials is a greater achievement.
"Like you rightly say, to beat an MLS side," said Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill. "For their self-esteem. For their own futures. When they can look back in many years and speak to their children and grandchildren about the night that we beat Seattle at Al Lang for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. I'm sure that will last in their lives forever."
The Rowdies are back on the pitch with a little more bounce in their game. They're hoping a boost in confidence means more quality wins. They have two regular season NASL games before flying to Portland for round 4 against another powerhouse: the Timbers.
There is a perfect explanation for why the Rowdies would practice without soccer goals at Tampa's Skyway Park on Friday. Their next three games won't be 'kicks in the grass'. Two will be on turf, so the Rowdies had to make do with the best artificial field available even though there weren't any goals.
"It's different to grass, said Hill. I think the players enjoy it because I always stress turf fields should be for passing. I feel it's a passing field oppose to a running and dribbling field. I think the boys normal take things on board and try to make it a passing game where ever we get to."
The Rowdies are lining up their shots and looking to take down more goals.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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