By JAKE NUTTING
The Tampa Bay Rowdies are close to adding yet another attacking midfielder to strengthen their roster in the back half of the United Soccer League season. Former New York Cosmos winger Sebastian Guenzatti is close to a deal with the Rowdies after training with the team this week, Unused Substitutes has learned. An announcement for the signing could come next week.
A ruptured ACL in Ottawa late last year ended Guenzatti’s final season with the Cosmos prematurely. The injury required invasive surgery and was only made worse by the North American Soccer League team’s unfortunate turmoil when ownership was on the precipice of shutting the historic team down. Guenzatti, 26, was one of many players and team employees laid off by New York’s previous ownership back in December, leaving the Queens product wondering how he would cover his medical costs and rehabilitation.
Guenzatti has apparently bounced back from his ACL injury well and impressed enough as a guest at Rowdies training this week to earn a contract for rest of the USL season.
While not back to full fitness yet, Guenzatti offers depth and more postseason experience for the Rowdies as they seek to secure their first postseason berth since 2012. He follows Walter Restrepo, another former Cosmos winger who signed with the Rowdies last week, as well as Rowdies Midfielder Leo Fernandes. Restrepo, Fernandes and Guenzatti were all part of the Cosmos team that captured the NASL Spring Season championship and the league title in 2015.
Unlike Restrepo and Fernandes, Guenzatti was with the Cosmos since the 2013 reboot season. He’s been a member of each of the team’s three championship teams over the past four seasons, recording ten goals and six assists through 81 appearances along the way. Guenzatti grew up in Queens but was born in Uruguay. He returned to Uruguay as a teenager to pursue his playing career with Peñarol’s U-19 squad before signing with Huracán FC, where he made nine appearances and scored one goal in 2013.