In the lead-up to this week’s match with Pittsburgh, both Neill Collins and Steevan Dos Santos emphasized that the Riverhounds would be one of the tougher tests they would have all season, despite wholesale roster changes and not having played a league match yet. The two clubs will meet each other three more times this season, so the statement could yet ring true, but on this evening the Tampa Bay Rowdies actions spoke louder than words as they put the visitors to the sword and walked off the pitch with a 3-0 victory for the second consecutive Saturday.
Both sides had early chances in the first fifteen minutes but it was newcomer Dos Santos that struck first for the Rowdies, opening his account with a headed strike, assisted by Leo Fernandes, in the 31st minute. Three minutes later, the Cape Verdean could have notched a brace after a Lewis Hilton cross, but was saved. Both clubs fired over the crossbar in the final five minutes of the first half and the Rowdies went into halftime with a 1-0 lead and nearly twice as much possession as their oppoonent.
The second half started brightly for the visitors as Thomas Williamson came close in the 48th minute. Pittsburgh introduced 3 substitutes a third of the way into the second half but it was the Rowdies who struck again when El Capitan Sebastian Guenzatti coolly converted a penalty awarded when Dos Santos was brought down by Riverhounds keeper Danny Vitiello in the area.
Five minutes after coming on for Dos Santos, Jordan Adebayo-Smith took advantage of an out-of-position Vitiello to record his first Rowdies goal and recreate last week’s scoreline. Adebayo-Smith had another chance later but it was saved and the game ended minutes later.
MOTM: With a goal, several other chances and almost an assist, it has to go to Steevan Dos Santos
Notes & Quotes:
100 Cap Watch: Guenzatti now has 92 appearances and Fernandes 91 for the club
Injury Report: Juan Tejada and Yann Ekra were listed as Questionable for the game while Luiz Fernando and Lucky Mkosana were ruled out.
Quote of the Night: “If it were me, I’d be taking a lap around the stadium!” — Neill Collins on the restraint shown by Dos Santos after scoring against his former club.