Where: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg FL
When: Saturday, November 20th 2021 @ 7:30PM
Neill Collins, 4th season
23-7-2, 71 points
W 1-0 vs Birmingham Legion
Last 5 Results
Last Match: Rowdies 2-1 Louisville (2020 Eastern Conference Final)
Danny Cruz, 1st season
18-7-7, 61 points
W 1-0 vs Charlotte Independence
Josh Wynder – Out
- Referee: Lukasz Szpala
- Assistant Referees: Brooke Mayo, Kevin Lock
- Fourth Official: Matthew Thompson
Notes and Quotes:
“Ultimately, it will give our player a boost to hear them. It’ll give our players a boost as legs start to tire, having that extra jolt of energy. Obviously, it’s going be amazing for our fans to experience that as well. We’re excited that they’re going to be able to be there and hopefully share a special moment with the players.”Louisville City Head Coach Danny Cruz, on the travelling Louisville fans
If the Tampa Bay Rowdies are going to pull off back-to-back USL Championship Eastern Conference titles, they are going to need to knock off the team they met in last year’s conference final and the team that has earned a spot in seven straight conference finals. The road back to this position has been a long one for the Rowdies to trek after last year’s championship final was canceled due to the pandemic. It has taken great resolve to not only make it back to the
conference final, but to do so with home field advantage as the league’s top overall seed.
“From day one we all discussed the fact that there’s gonna be a lot of talk about last year’s final being canceled and we all want to put it right. Well, the reminder at the start of this year was what it took us to get there the last time was from day one in preseason… The only way we were going to get back there was by doing it again. The players answered those questions by the points tally they got and giving us those games at home. Now we’re on the last leg, as you call it. We just need to get the last part achieved to really put that to bed. The players have taken care of thatTampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins
and focused on the task at hand really well.”
“It starts with Cam (Lancaster) and the guys up top. Them all the way back to me, we’ve kept an incredibly compact shape, very hard for teams to get anything off us. Extra credit to the back four, defending the box, critical moments by everyone the field has led to the past shutouts.”Louisville City GK Chris Hubbard, on the recent run of clean sheets
An important piece for Birmingham and a familiar one to the Rowdies will be unavailable for Saturday’s match. Former Rowdies at
With 58 total goals for Tampa Bay, Sebastian Guenzatti is just 3 goals away from becoming the club’s all-time scoring record. Georgi Hristov sits first with 60 goals.
“I know (the record) is there but I try not to think about it. I take it every game at a time, every training at a time, ITampa Bay Rowdies Forward/Captain Sebastian Guenzatti
try to score as much as I can in training and as much as I can in the game. So if it comes, it comes. If doesn’t, I gotta stay calm and focused so that we’re on the right track to get the championship. That’s what I want at the end of the day, to win the championship. That’s a lot more meaningful than my personal records.”
With just two more wins, Guenzatti can cap off a career year by bringing a title to Tampa Bay.
“It’s huge. For the guys, for the club, for the fans, for everybody involved that have been working so hard throughout the pandemic and everything that happened last year. It was kind of out of our hands at the end so we couldn’t really do much. Now we get a chance to come home and play the Eastern Conference final at home and try to go for the whole thing. It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true for everybody.”Tampa Bay Rowdies Forward/Captain Sebastian Guenzatti
While the Rowdies were able to throw Louisville for a loop with a goal in the opening minutes in last year’s conference final, they then followed that with a stellar defensive effort to hold Louisville’s potent attack to little to no chances the rest of the night. The Rowdies will aim to repeat that kind of stout showing this Saturday, with the confidence this year of having the best defensive record of any team in the league with 16 shutouts. While Louisville comes in having notched 61 goals, the second best tally in the USL this season.
“Obviously they have some good individuals but they’re good collectively as well,” said Collins. We’re gonna have to be at our very best. We’ve proved we have the best defense in the league and we’re going to have to prove as a team against the ball that we really are the best by being really organized, disciplined, aggressive. If we do that part well, I always feel our attacking part follows.”Tampa Bay Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins