Lethargic. Uninspired. Inexcusable.
In so many words, Minnesota United FC head coach Carl Craig expressed his displeasure following the Loons 2-0 loss to the seventh-place Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night at NSC Stadium, the club's first home field loss this spring season.
In the end, one word summed it all: Disappointed.
It was the club's second consecutive loss and dropped United's record to 4-3-1. Last week, the Loons lost 4-2 at undefeated Indy Eleven, which knocked them from first place to third in the spring season standings. Now they are fourth with only two spring matches left.
"Two losses in a row are a disappointment, of course, but I think it's the manner in which we lost [that] is more disappointing," Craig said. "To be two goals down two weeks in a row then finally deciding to turn up is not good enough."
Minnesota entered the match 3-0 at home, having outscored opponents 6-0 at NCS Stadium. The Rowdies (3-2-3) scored first on a header by Joe Cole in the 43rd minute, made possible by perfectly timed cross from former Loon Kalif Alhassan. Tampa Bay scored an insurance goal in the 49th minute when Eric Avila sent a shot into the left corner of the net past Sammy Ndjock, who tried to block the shot with his foot.
Jamie Watson, who made his first start of the season for the Loons and finished with two shots, agreed with Craig's assessment of the team's performance.
"It's frustrating to come out like that tonight and not really give a performance that, I think, is indicative of what our spring season has been," he said. "It was a bit out of character. I think we've got some work to do this week."
In the 68th minute, Bernardo Anor appeared to score off an assist from Juliano Vicentini, but the goal was waved off because Anor was ruled offside.
Moments earlier, J.C. Banks had a one-on-one opportunity with Tampa Bay goalie Matt Pickens on a sliding kick in front of the net, but he blocked the shot.
There were other opportunities earlier in the match.
Stefano Pinho laid a pass to a trailing Watson in the box in the 19th minute, but Watson couldn't convert sliding into the pass and overshot the net. In the 39th minute, a corner kick was nearly headed in by Damion Lowe and again by Brent Kallman, but Pickens made the saves.
The Loons owned an 11-6 advantage in shots. They had six in the first half, three from inside the box.