The San Antonio Scorpions, coming off a big win against the Cosmos, failed to keep the momentum going as they fell to a 1-0 loss against Tampa Bay on Saturday night at Toyota Field.
The Scorpions started well but struggled to create any real clear cut chances for all their possession as Tampa remained firm in defense.
In the 18th minute the Scorpions had a golden opportunity as Danny Barrera played Walter Restrepo clean through on goal, but his first touch was heavy allowing Matt Pickens to run out and claim the ball.
In the 24th minute Shaun Saiko should have scored the opener as the Rowdies left him wide open to receive the cross but he was denied by a stunning save from Pickens.
The Scorpions were continuing their flowing football and in the 27th minute when Restrepo was able to send the ball along the ground but could only find Tampa defenders.
A flowing counter attack allowed the Scorpions a great chance on the verge of half-time as Restrepo and Barrerra played a one-two allowing Barrerra through on the right, with numbers in support but Tampa scrambled back and cleared.
Tampa started the second half the better side and some good work allowed Keith Savage to lay the ball back for Shane Hill who hit an impressive strike from the edge of the area, through three defenders, just out of the reach of David Bingham for the opening goal.
With the momentum the Rowdies very nearly made it two immediately as a deep cross allowed a free header which went just wide of goal.
A corner allowed the Scorpions a chance in the 58th minute as a ball was solidly floated in but it was just out of the reach of Saiko keeping it 1-0.
In the 67th minute Sainey Touray used his speed to get behind the Rowdies defense and looked to chip the keeper but was denied as Pickens stuck his glove up to keep it 1-0.
Pickens was again the hero in the 74th minute as he came up big to deny the Touray header after a perfect Hassli pass.
The Scorpions got a chance to get back in to the match in the 78th minute as Blake Wagner was shown his second yellow for an off the ball incident.
It was all Scorpions for the final 20 minutes and they could well have drawn level with seven minutes to play as a scramble allowed them to push the ball just wide.
Pickens was the star for Tampa Bay as he constantly repelled the Scorpions, earning them a valuable three points in a tight league.