ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - The North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl has a new home.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned the 2012 NASL crown after a thrilling shootout victory Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, beating the Minnesota Stars FC 3-1 to tie the aggregate goal series, then prevailing after Jeff Attinella made three saves during penalty kicks. The Rowdies held on through the entire extra time period despite playing a man down.
The Stars, trying to repeat as NASL champions and leading in total goals after winning 2-0 a week ago in Blaine in the first of the two-game series, knew the Rowdies would be pressing from the start, and they had a storm to weather in the first half. The pressure paid off for Tampa Bay in the 24th minute, when Carl Cort converted a rebound after Stars goalkeeper Matt VanOekel blocked Keith Savage's shot from 14 yards out for a 1-0 lead.
The Rowdies got the series-equalizing goal right away in the second half. Former Stars back Andres Arango nodded a header down, which Savage turned in at the back post to send the crowd of 6,208 into a frenzy.
Stars substitute Lucas Rodriguez hammered his first touch past Attinella at 51:51 to cut the margin to 2-1, but Rowdies leading scorer Daniel Antoniuk came off the bench to snatch an 85th-minute goal that brought the series level on aggregate.
The Stars couldn't score in the 30 minutes of extra time, even after Tampa Bay midfielder Shane Hill got a red card for a reckless challenge and put the Rowdies a man down, and Attinella was brilliant in goal in the shootout.
|Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez||5||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson||4|
|Washington - WP: D. Fister||4||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos||2|
|Arizona - LP: V. Nuno||2||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez||4|
|Boston - WP: A. Webster||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer||2|
|NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom||2||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson||0|
|Miami - WP: J. Turner||4||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: C. McHugh||2|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||3||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: J. Burton||4|
|Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar||10||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: B. Chen||3|
|St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright||1||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: K. Hendricks||0|
|Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain||1||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Smith||2|
|Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson||7||FINAL|
|Colorado - LP: R. Brothers||5|
|Baltimore - WP: T. McFarland||3||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: Y. Medina||2|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: M. Minor||8|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||9||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: M. Mikolas||3|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||4||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy||3|