ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. --- First-half goals by Tampa Bay’s Marcel Schäefer were too much for FC Cincinnati to overcome as the Orange and Blue lost 3-0 in the USL Quarterfinal Sat. night at Al Lang Stadium.
Schäefer put the Rowdies on the board in the eighth minute after sliding a pass from Georgi Hristov past Mitch Hildebrandt from the left side. He secured his brace in the 25th minute striking a shot from 25 yards out into the lower right corner. The second opportunity materialized after an attempted clearance out of the box by FCC sent the ball to a waiting Schäefer, who completed the play with his left foot for the second time.
Tampa Bay stretched the lead to three in the second half, this time with Hristov firing a shot from beyond the 18-yard box and bouncing the ball in off the crossbar in the 68th minute.
FCC had 10 shots on the night but had just one shot on target while the Rowdies put eight of their 12 shots on frame.
Jimmy McLaughlin looked to equalize Schaefer’s first goal in the 11th minute, carrying a pass into the 18-yard box and slicing a shot under the diving Matt Pickens but sent the ball wide.
The Orange and Blue continued to push forward, earning a corner in the 20th minute. Tyler Polak’s service was corralled by McLaughlin but his attempt to connect with Djiby in front of the goal was cleared by the Rowdies.
Andrew Wiedeman had a clean look from 25 yards out in the 22nd minute, forcing Pickens to leap towards the upper left-hand corner but avoided the corner kick as Wiedeman’s shot flew high.
In the 33rd minute, Danni König and Djiby looked to challenge Pickers with consecutive efforts but Djiby with the second touch, had his header drop wide of the goal.
Djiby threatened again in the 48th minute as Justin Hoyte pushed the ball towards the goal-line and flicked it to the Senegalese forward, but again he was unable to put the shot on target as his header popped the ball over the crossbar.
A miscue by Austin Berry in the 55th minute gave the ball to Joe Cole, who moved the ball ahead to create an opportunity but Berry recovered to make the tackle and prevent Cole from taking a shot.
The Rowdies continued to threaten in the 70th minute and Hildebrandt made the save on a hard shot from Sebastian Guenzatti.
Kadeem Dacres sparked FCC off the bench, playing the ball off the Rowdies as FCC earned three consecutive corners in the 76th minute. The Orange and Blue were unable to take advantage of the first two opportunities but Dacres had the lone shot on target, heading the ball towards the net and forcing Pickens to make the valiant effort and punch the ball over the crossbar for a fourth FCC corner kick. Walker started the set piece and found König, but his close-range header missed to right.
TB: 8th – Marcel Schäefer (Georgi Hristov)
TB: 25th – Marcel Schäefer
TB: 68th – Georgi Hristov (Martin Vingaard)
FCC: Mitch Hildebrandt, Tyler Polak, Austin Berry, Harrison Delbridge, Justin Hoyte, Jimmy McLaughlin, Corben Bone, Kenney Walker, Andrew Wiedeman, Djiby, Danni König.
TBR: Matt Picens, Darnell King, Hunter Gorskie, Neill Collins, Zac Portillos, Martin Vingaard, Marcel Schäefer, Walter Restrepo, Joe Cole, Georgi Hristov, Sebastian, Guenzatti