USL: Rowdies earn draw in Neil Collins' debut as head coach

Three days after playing the 598th and last game of his playing career, Neill Collins made his debut as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-2 tie against the unbeaten Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

Collins was named the head coach on Friday, replacing Stuart Campbell, who was fired a day after the Rowdies fell to their former NASL rival, the Jacksonville Armada, 1-0, in the Open Cup. They had also lost five straight games on the road in the USL.

Former England international Joe Cole scored on a free kick in the 59th minute to earn Tampa Bay a point.

“Those lads tonight tried to do everything I asked,” said the 34-year-old Collins, who holds a UEFA A Coaching License. “At times, it worked. At times, it didn’t, but the most important thing is that they were trying to implement specific things I asked."

The Rowdies' first goal was scored by Lance Rozeboom less than three minutes into the game off a corner kick.

“Neill made it a point, especially in the first few minutes, to play quick off the corners and Marcel [Schaefer] and Alex [Morrell] played quick,” Rozeboom said. “Alex got it in and I just tried to flick it on."

May 19 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Tampa Bay 2 Pittsburgh 2. Goals: Rozeboom 4, Cole 59; own goal 20, Parkes 30.
Tampa Bay -- Fitzgerald; Lachowecki, Gorskie, Magalhaes, Portillos; Rozeboom, Cole (Nanchoff 72), Schaefer; Morrell (Flemmings 61), Hristov (Graf 76), Guenzatti.
Pittsburgh -- Lynd; Partner, Roberts, Vancaeyezeele; Dover, Lee, Zemanski (Adewole 80), Forbes, Francois; Kerr (Holland 81), Parkes (Brett 80).
Att.: 6,202.

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