At least someone related to the Colorado Rapids is celebrating a championship this year. On Saturday, former Rapids draft pick Eddie Ababio won the NASL Championship as a member of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Rowdies took down the Minnesota Stars in a penalty shootout to win the trophy at Al Lang Stadium.
Despite going into the second leg of the Soccer Bowl down 2-0 on the aggregate, the Rowdies managed to score three goals in their home leg. Ababio didn't see the field -- he made the bench in game one of the two-legged series but couldn't crack the starting 18 in leg two -- but his team pulled out a big comeback to force the penalty shootout.
Rowdies 'keeper Jeff Attinella made three saves in the penalty shootout to help lead the Rowdies to the title in the end. It was the first title for the franchise since they launched in 2010.
It looks likely that the Minnesota Stars will be taking home their second straight NASL Title following a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday evening in the first leg of the 2012 Soccer Bowl.
Amani Walker and Martín Núñez scored the two goals for the Stars, with the second goal coming right as the final minute began to tick down of stoppage time. Having that big 2-0 lead instead of the 1-0 will give the Stars a huge advantage even as they have go to on the road to Tampa Bay for the second leg.
Former Rapids defender/midfielder Eddie Ababio started the game on the bench for Tampa Bay, but wasn't able to make his way onto the field during the loss.
Minnesota has gone to Florida to win titles before, their NASL championship from 2011 was won over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The second and final leg of the title run will take place at Al Lang Stadium on Oct. 27.