Rowdies fall to Battery in bad fashion
By JJ Pavlick 9/10/22
The Rowdies came into the game with the ability to take 2nd place in the Eastern Conference and keep pace with Louisville FC for 1st place. The game started off looking great for Tampa Bay with Sebastian Guenzatti getting his 59th career goal as a member of the Rowdies, tying him with Tampa Bay Legend Georgi Hristov who set the record of 59 goals for his career with Tampa in 2018. The Tampa Bay Rowdies’ history is filled with great successes and miseries, the club used to play in front of 10k plus fans around the United States back when NASL (1968 – 1984) was the top division in the country. Then it moved to the AISA/NPSL from 1984-2001 and ASL from 1988-1989 where it still did very well but then both leagues fell, and the Rowdies were forced to shut down. Tampa Bay Mutiny became the new Tampa Club but had zero of the Rowdies’ history or connection outside of fielding their megastars for the MLS from 1996 till 2001 as well. Tampa went 10 years before the Rowdies returned in 2010 but not as the Rowdies due to a trademark fight with a jersey maker they returned as FC Tampa Bay for a few seasons in the USL 1st Division which was the country’s 2nd division for soccer. The Rowdies returned in 2012 and won the NASL Championship in the NASL’s return to American soccer making through 2016. In 2017 The Rowdies joined their new and current home in USL Champions League and have been a dominating force in the league since coming in. So, while 59 Career goals seem like a low number for a club with so much history in American soccer many factors lead to it sadly. Currently, the Rowdies are owned by MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays and the former manager of the Tampa Bay Mutiny of MLS who were sold off by the league to Miami and in a way became the first relegated team without the pro/rel system in place still to this day. Will the Rowdies join MLS? they have plans for a new 18-20k soccer-specific Stadium along with a soccer park for the youth clubs to use. The USL however has a vested interest in keeping the historic club with their youth Super Y league being based out of Tampa and holding its championships.
Sadly, however, Guenzatti’s goal at the 3 min mark was the last time Tampa would score and the game took an odd turn for the Rowdies side. The Rowdies looked bad in the Midfield and defensive zones of the pitch all night long. They made sloppy mistakes and passes which prevented their trio of forwards from doing anything of danger to Charleston. Manager Neil Collins was pacing the sideline all match screaming his displeasure with his team’s play. The team that’s been solid all season when they had a lead looked really bad and tired. Their last 3 matches have been played in 85–90-degree weather with high humidity. In 2 of the matches, they had no hydration breaks which was odd given the rules but is allowed as the final decision is made by the Center Referee. Andrew Booth of the Charleston Battery stole the night, scoring in the 21st and 67th minutes of the match to secure the win for Charleston.
Charleston managed to remove MVP Leo Fernandes and his fellow forwards by simply not allowing Tampa to move the ball up to the final third after going down 1-0 on a beautiful header by El Captain. It’s hard to say why Charleston was able to just magically dominate the Rowdies after being outplayed the first 10 min of the match and having never beaten Tampa Bay before this match. Coach Collins I’m sure will use the week to figure it out before they face Detroit on Saturday, September 17th in Detroit. The game was filled with fouls and yellow cards 23 fouls in total and 6 yellow cards. The game had many pauses, including what appeared to be a hydration break when Charleston Battery saw their forward Booth go down with cramps. But shortly after they stopped the game for a hydration break after the previous 3-minute stoppage. The Rowdies were called for offside 4 times in the match and 2 of them were questionable as all video angles showed the striker being onside at the time of the pass. On to Detroit and look for the Rowdies to bounce back with so much still on the line for the club.