by JAKE NUTTING
The Tampa Bay Rowdies may come to regret letting the full 3 points slip away in Friday’s 2-2 draw against North Carolina FC by the end of the year, but the other results around Group H didn’t hurt them in the moment as both Atlanta United 2 and the Charleston Battery played competition from outside the group.
Of course, any current lead is tenuous until group play begins in earnest. A couple bad matches within the group and the standings could reverse in a heartbeat. So enjoy this 4-cushion while it lasts. The campaign is likely to get much more intense as the weeks roll on.
Group H Standings
- Tampa Bay Rowdies: 7 pts (2W, 1D)
- Charleston Battery: 3 pts (1D, 1L)
- Atlanta United 2: 3 pts (1D, 2L)
- Miami FC: 0 pts (1L)
Atlanta United 2 – 2 Memphis 901 FC
Atlanta United 2 was miuntes away from its first win of the year on Saturday night but had to settle for taking its first point of the year after allowing Memphis 901 FC to equalize in stoppage time.
Following up on his goal at Al Lang last week, Jackson Conway opened up the scoring for Atlanta with a low strike past keeper Jimmy Hague. That lead held until former Rowdies forward Brandon Allen levelled the match for the visitors with a header a minute before halftime. Coleman Gannon then put the hosts back on top in the 57th minute as he collected and finished a pass put through the back line by Modou Jadama. Memphis ultimately spoiled the party, though, thanks to a fantastic individual effort by rookie Cal Jennings. The UCF alumnus brought a hard pass down with his chest, controlled the ball at the endline and spun around before finishing at the neart post.
Atlanta next travels to face Charleston on Friday night at Patriot’s Point Sports Complex.
Charleston Battery 1-2 Birmingham Legion FC
The Charleston Battery returned to action for the first time in the reformated 2020 season with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Birmingham Legio FC, who the Rowdies will travel to play this weekend.
Just 12 minutes into the match, Brian Wright slipped past Charleston’s back line and powered a shot past the should of keeper Phil Brento. Charleston managed to pull one back at the half hour mark when a cross from Deshawon Nembhard on the left flank fell for attacker Zeiko Lewis, whose volley from the top of th ebox scuffed the turf on its way into the back of the net. An unfortnate deflection ended up leading to the deciding goal in the 54th minute. As Birmingham charged toward Charleston’s box, Bruno Lapa fired a shot off from 20 yards out that clipped the foot of defender Logan Gdula rolled to the right side after Brento had already committed to the opposite side.
Miami Remains Idle
Miami FC was slated to resume play this coming Wednesday with a home fixture against Charlotte Independence FC. However, the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Florida has pushed that meeting to August 23. Now Miami will kick off at Atlanta next Wednesday. The Rowdies will have alredy played four matches by the time Miami takes the field again, but any advanatge gained in that time could easily be wiped away in head-to-head action as the two sides are set to play each other four times over the next few months.