Tampa Bay is still seeking its first home win in more than a month after settling for a 1-1 tie with Atlanta Saturday.
The Silverbacks entered the weekend tied for last place in the NASL but have been playing better of late, and now have just one loss in its last six outings.
The Rowdies had not scored in their previous two games at Al Lang, both 0-0 finals including one against Atlanta. This time the Silverbacks scored first.
Eddie Ababio, the Gaither High standout thrust into the Rowdies lineup due to captain Frankie Sanfillipo’s yellow card accumulation, turned it over and Matt Horth converted in the 30th minutes.
But Tampa Bay got a goal before the half off Luke Mulholland’s free kick, which ricocheted off several players before Takuya Yamada snuck it across the goal line at 41:27.
Mulholland had a couple of 20-yard efforts stopped by Atlanta goalie Eric Ati, who also made a point-blank save on Daniel Antoniuk’s strike, in the second half.
It was not a good night all around for Ababio, who collected two yellow cards leaving Tampa Bay down one man for the final 25 minutes.
Saturday’s other results could not have gone better for the Rowdies in their quest to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Rico tied so neither was able to close the gap on second-place Tampa Bay, and Carolina also fell to first-place San Antonio.
That latter result practically eliminates the Rowdies’ shot at first place, however.