When: 7:30 pm, Saturday, April 16th 2022
Where: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg FL
Last Meeting: Rowdies W 6-2 vs TUL on November 6th, 2021 – Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
|Neill Collins||Head Coach||Michael Nsien|
|2-1-3, 9 points||Record||3-3-0, 9 points|
vs. Miami FC
|Last Match||L 3-4 |
vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds
1: Tejada/Dos Santos
|Goals||3: Williams/da Costa|
|14: Guenzatti||Shots||13: Williams|
|9: Cochran||Saves||2: Pack|
|3: Cochran||Clean Sheets||n/a|
MEMPHIS WEATHER FC Tulsa was scheduled to play Memphis 901 FC on Wednesday night, but due to unplayable field conditions brought on by torrential rain, hail, and tornadoes in the Memphis area. Tulsa had been slated to play four matches in just 11 days including its Open Cup match at FC Dallas on April 19, so the match against Memphis being postponed gave FC Tulsa a few days of rest. The club traveled to Memphis but never left the hotel before the match was rescheduled to a later date.
TWO-HEADED ATTACK FC Tulsa’s attack has been fueled by a two-headed monster up front in 2022 made up by JJ Williams and Rodrigo da Costa. Each man has three goals apiece, tied for the club lead. FC Tulsa is one of only four clubs in the league to have two players with three or more goals each, accompanied by Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, and El Paso.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 2: Ronald Rodríguez registered his second career assist in Tulsa’s last match against Pittsburgh. Between his time in El Salvador, with its National Team, and with FC Tulsa, Rodríguez has played 5,310 minutes as a 23-year-old.
- 4: Head coach Michael Nsien has used four different backline configurations through six games in 2022, in part due to a Week 1 injury to Bradley Bourgeois and Ronald Rodríguez missing three matches due to International Duty.
- 11: FC Tulsa’s 11 goals is the most the club has scored through its first six matches since the 2019 season in which it scored 15. It’s 2022 tally ties FC Tulsa for the fifth-most goals scored in the USL Championship and is second in the Eastern Conference, trailing Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC by only one score.
- 22: With his first assist of 2022 on Saturday vs Riverhounds SC, Rodrigo da Costa notched his 22nd assist for FC Tulsa in his career spanning back to 2019. That total is good for the most in franchise history by a wide margin – Cristhian Altamirano is second on the list with 10 assists.
About Tampa Bay:
The Tampa Bay Rowdies meet FC Tulsa at Al Lang Stadium this Saturday night with the goal of securing all three points after going winless in their last three USL Championship matches. Tampa Bay and Tulsa are even at 9 points through their first six matches, though Tulsa sits ahead of the Rowdies thanks to a tiebreaker.
“This week there’s been a real focus on more urgency, more intensity, and trying to add a bit more excitement to the way that we’re playing. I think that’s key, and especially at Al Lang,” said Rowdies Assistant Coach Jon Stead, who filled in as acting head coach for last week’s match versus Miami while Neill Collins was out the country continuing his UEFA Pro License course. Collins will return to the sideline this Saturday at Al Lang.
In order to win a team obviously needs to score goals, which is something the Rowdies have failed to do in their last two league matches. Two games might not seem like a long stretch, but it is when you factor in the standard set by the Rowdies over the last few seasons. To find the last time the Rowdies went scoreless in two straight matches you would have to go back to August of 2018, Collins’ first year in charge.
There’s still no panic for the Rowdies, who are focused on sticking with their style to play their way out their mini-drought.
While the Rowdies lost out to Miami, they did outshoot their instate rivals 15-7, indicating that the chances are there for the Green & Gold. The pressing issue of the last two games is the quality of finishing. The Rowdies managed to put just two of their 15 shots against Miami on frame.
“We’re creating chances. We’re pinning teams in. Teams are looking to sit in and be as compact as possible and try to hit us on counters. That kind of respect has been earned over the last couple of years. That’s what this team has been doing long before I’ve been here. Any team that comes into Al Lang, they know they’re going to be in for a game. It’s going to be a difficult evening for them. We can convert some more of our chances. I think that’s the key, and try to get ahead in games, especially at home because that creates a different challenge for the opposition. It’s not as easy to sit in when you’re chasing goals.”Rowdies assistant coach Jon Stead
With the Rowdies looking to pull themselves out of a scoring drought, having a former player with Stead’s pedigree is a decent boon. Stead appeared in over 700 matches and recorded just over 160 goals during his nearly 20-year playing career in England.
“We’re very lucky and blessed that someone of (Stead’s) caliber and with his career can come to the Rowdies and try to teach us what he’s learned throughout his career. Whenever he talks I shut up and listen. With all of his drills, all his videos, I just feel very fortunate to be working with him.”Rowdies midfielder Leo Fernandes
The Rowdies don’t have to look too far back to find an example of the attack firing on all cylinders. In their 3-0 win at Atlanta United II, the Rowdies were soaring all over the pitch in one of their most dominant performances in recent memory.
“I showed the strikers a video of a lot of the stuff we did at Atlanta in terms of the linkup, the rotations, the partnerships and understanding between pairings was first class. And they did it with a smile on their face, which is important. We had a good look at that and we thought back to our performances and team performance when we’re doing those things.”Rowdies assistant coach Jon Stead
Rowdies captain Sebastian Guenzatti remains three goals shy of setting the club’s all-time scoring record. Rowdies legend Georgi Hristov holds the current record with 60 goals. While Guenzatti has yet to find the back of the net, he has provided two top class assists.
“Seba’s doing a lot of the right things. His link up play is fantastic. He’s got some great assists this season. He’s getting in the positions that we know Seba can get in. It’s just that final bit, maybe in getting him off the mark the rest will follow. He’s been a top performer and was fantastic last season. He’s been fantastic in training this week.”Rowdies assistant coach Jon Stead