Standing tall amid gathering storm clouds, Tampa goalkeeper Winston DuBose deflected Nam Ki-Hong's penalty kick to enable the Rowdies (6-7) to outscore the Diplomats in penalty kicks, 6-5, and defeat Washington, 2-1, yesterday before 648 at RFK Stadium auxiliary field.
The Diplomats (5-8) came out attacking for the first overtime, firing three clean shots at DuBose. Their best shot actually sneaked behind DuBose early in the second overtime, but Jeff Jones was in position to deflect the ball.
Washington tied the game at 70:00 when Salvador Coreas glided into the left side of the Rowdies' zone, then fed Leonel Suazo with a crisp crossing pass, setting him up for an open shot that he deposited past a sprawling DuBose.
The Rowdies got the only goal of the first half, at 14:41 when forward David Byrne scored on a direct kick following a foul called on Diplomats defenseman Walter Tombini.
Much of the first half was spent in the Diplomats' half of the field, still soggy after a heavy thunderstorm earlier in the afternoon, in part because of the teams' disparate offenses -- the Rowdies' opportunistic, the Diplomats' anemic.
"I thought we played the best defense of the year today," DuBose said of the first half. "If we play that well, we have a chance to win."
That changed with two golden chances for Washington. The first came 25 minutes into the game when Suazo wove between two Tampa defenders on the right side, then fed newcomer Carlos Coreas directly in front of the net. Coreas, brother of Salvador Coreas and a member of the Salvadoran national team, fired a hard shot that DuBose barely deflected.
Seven minutes later, Luis Ramirez-Zapata was the recipient of yet another open shot, but his nestled in the side of the net, rather than in the goal.
"We tried to do everything we could for one game," Diplomats Coach Stojan Nikolic said. "It didn't work today, so we just have to play better and not make mental mistakes, like on that one goal."
If not for several sparkling saves by Washington goalkeeper Vojislav Stanisic, two on shots by Byrne within seconds of each other, the Diplomats would have been in far worse shape. Stanisic certainly lived up to his nickname, "Scoop," going airborne to deflect several shots and keeping the Diplomats within reach deep into the second half.
Washington played without star forward Drago, serving a one-game suspension assessed when he was ejected from the Diplomats' 1-0 loss to Albany Friday night.