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Miami FC struggles in 2-5 loss to in-state rival Rowdies

MIAMI — Miami returned home Thursday to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first matchup this season of the intrastate rivalry.

The match at FIU Soccer Stadium was hard-fought, but Tampa Bay outmuscled Miami FC by score of 5-2. 

Miami FC found itself missing chances on goal and it's second-half rally fell short as it conceded three first-half goals Thursday night after an impressive performance by Rowdies' forward Cal Jennings.

Both teams struggled in the first half maintaining possession and adjusting to the speed of play on the natural grass turf, but Tampa Bay drew first blood off an unlucky bounce as Cal Jennings collected a cross in the 21st minute. 

The Rowdies began to press higher after gaining confidence from their own goal fortune and almost found their second goal of the night in the 25th minute. Josh Perez took advantage of a poor pass from Miami's back line and quickly tried to fire his shot to Gagliardi's far post. Fortunately, the ball hit off the post and Miami avoided being down two goals.

The next ten minutes of the first half saw a different Miami side, who were it not for the heroics of Rowdies keeper Jordan Farr, the hosts would have surely scored two goals in a five minute span with two fantastic chances by Frank Lopez. 

Lopez again missed a golden opportunity to level the score in the 37th minute as his point blank volley from an Ayimbila cross was somehow stopped by Farr. The misses proved extremely costly to the hosts.

Just two minutes later Cal Jennings collected a cross from Josh Perez and easily buried his chance to put Tampa Bay up 0-2. Tampa continued to roll with their pace and found their third off a great hit by Tampa Bay's Blake to the upper corner of Gagliardi's net seconds before halftime.

While Miami looked completely shocked walking off at halftime, the hosts would not go away quietly in the second half.

Miami started applying immediate pressure at the second-half whistle and only took two minutes to find a result as Rocco Genzano took a great cross from the left to and buried his chance to finally breathe life to the host side.

That goal began a series of back-and-forth events at a frantic pace for both sides, but Miami was on the wrong side of that pace in the 51st minute as Jennings took advantage of a very fast counter from Miami's attack courtesy of Josh Perez. Perez raced down the left to put a great ball through to Jennings who left no doubt. Tampa Bay was suddenly ahead 1-4.

The 55th minute then belonged to Allen Gavilanes of Miami. The forward and bright spot for Miami, continued his scoring ways taking a ball from 30 yards out and hit a rocket to get Miami's deficit to 2 goals as they trailed 2-4

Miami would not complete the comeback on this night though. Ten minutes later, a bad mistake by Gagliardi in the 65th minute allowed Arteaga of Tampa Bay found himself lucky to get the ball on an open net as Gagliardi missed a pass, and Miami would find itself down 2-5.

The frantic pace of the second half was over and Tampa Bay claimed victory as both teams prepare for Open Cup play next week.

Miami will prepare for its entry into the 3rd round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as it hosts South Georgia Tormenta on Wednesday, April 17th at FIU Soccer Stadium. Kickoff will be at 7:30 pm ET. Tickets for the April 17th Open Cup match are on sale now at


The visitor outshot Miami by 22 to 6 and had 10 shots on target compared to Miami's 5.

In the 68th minute, starting Miami goalie Daniel Gagliardi left the field with an injury.  

Miami has now lost 4 games, won 1 and tied 1 for a total of 4 points in 6 games, while Tampa now has 9 points with 2 victories, 3 draws and no losses in just 5 games played. 

To add insult to injury, in the 73rd minute, Manuel Botta received a red card after two yellows and was sent off the pitch leaving Miami with 10 players.  

For the full season schedule, go to

CBS News Miami is the official broadcast partner for Miami FC. This story was reprinted with permission from Miami FC.

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