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PREVIEW: Rowdies vs. Phoenix Rising

When: Saturday, May 15th at 8pm
Where: Al Lang Stadium, St Petersburg FL
Watch: ESPN2

About Phoenix:

  • Head Coach: Rick Schantz (4th Season)
  • 2020 Record: 11-2-3, 35 points, Group B Champions, Western Conference Champions
  • Current Record: 2-0-0, 6 pts, 1st place Pacific Division
  • Current Form: WW
  • Statistical Leaders:
    • Goals: Moar, Asante (2)
    • Assists: Moar (2)
    • Key Passes: Moar, Asante (6)

Referees:

  • Center: Ismir Pekmic
  • Assistants: Art Arustamyan & Nicholas Marcer
  • Fourth: Gabriele Giusti

Potential Rowdies Lineup

  • Don’t mess with what works – look for the Rowdies to roll out the same starting lineup as last week as they hope to replicate the results, though there could be shuffling of faces on the bench as Yann Ekra could be in contention to return to the 18. Fernando, Tejada and Mkosana are all listed as OUT for this match in the latest injury report.

Sound Smart at the Tailgate Book Circle

  • Phoenix defender Darnell King has probably had this date circled since the schedule was revealed. The Tampa native played three season for the Rowdies before departing on good terms. He’ll certainly have some friends and family in attendance in case you’re wondering about the spots of red amidst the Green and Gold in the stands.
  • Speaking of reunions, Rowdies assistant coach Stuart Dobson and Phoenix head coach Rick Schantz were teammates at the University of Portland in the 90s.
  • Rowdies fans will be hoping that Phoenix’s kit is the only time they’ll be seeing red on Saturday night. Tampa Bay hasn’t been reduced to 10 men since Malik Johnson was sent off at Hartford on October 19th, 2019.
  • We’re going streaking! Tampa Bay will look to continue their clean sheet streak which sees them as one of only 3 teams in the USL Championship not to have conceded this season. Phoenix, by the way, is one of the others…On the attacking side, the Rowdies will be trying to get the ball past Ben Lundt, the defending USL Championship GK of the Year, currently on loan to Rising from FC Cincinnati. They should have some confidence though, because the last time they faced Lundt, they put 2 (3 if you count Max Lachowecki’s own goal) past him in last year’s Eastern Conference Championship when he was between the pipes for Louisville City.
  • Quick! Can you name the last time the Rowdies scored three or more goals in consecutive matches? You’d have to go back to 2017 when Tampa Bay defeated Harrisburg City 3-0 on August 5th but lost 4-3 to St Louis on the 13th. It was August of 2014 the last time they pulled off the feat in consecutive wins, downing the Carolina Railhawks 4-3 on the 9th and then waxing the (now defunct) New York Cosmos 3-1 on the 16th.

Prediction

2-1 in favor of Neill Collins’ Howlin’ Rowdies

Matthew Cox
Co-Founder/Co-Host/Editor in Chief of The Unused Substitutes. DTSP in the streets, SRQ in the sheets. Take my football ⚽, my 🍺 craft, my 🌯 wet and my takes 🔥. 💚&💛 til I'm ☠&🥶

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