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 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Match Preview: Rowdies at Memphis

May 2, 2024 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies News Release

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla - The Tampa Bay Rowdies take their unbeaten record to the Bluff City this Saturday for a matchup with Memphis 901 FC. Both Tampa Bay and Memphis enter the weekend coming off of impressive 3-0 victories last weekend. The Rowdies knocked off New Mexico United in a thorough performance at home while Memphis took all three points off of Birmingham Legion FC on the road.

As one of just three unbeaten teams left in the league, the Rowdies will look to carry their momentum into Memphis before returning to Al Lang Stadium for a lengthy homestand in May.

"The boys are in really good form but we know it's a different story heading up to Memphis this weekend," said Rowdies Head Coach Robbie Neilson. "They picked up a really good result last weekend against Birmingham. It'll be a tough place to go, so we're not getting too carried away with ourselves. It's always game by game."

Scouting Memphis

Memphis' season so far has been bookended by wins with five straight defeats sandwiched in between. Head Coach Stephen Glass' side won their season opener against Las Vegas Lights FC 2-1 on March 9 but went winless until last week's win over Birmingham. Midfielder Bruno Lapa helped lift Memphis to victory in Birmingham with a two-goal shift.

"Memphis are very strong in attack," said Neilson. "They have a very good midfield as well. Emerson Hyndman and Zachary Duncan are very good on the ball. Memphis may have a similar set up to New Mexico, maybe a little more athletic in that department, especially in those midfield areas."

Clean Sheets

The Rowdies registered their second shutout of the campaign last week against New Mexico. Although they haven't kept opponents off the scoresheet in a majority of their matches, the Rowdies have conceded seven goals through their first seven matches. Only three teams in the league have conceded fewer tallies. Rowdies keeper Jordan Farr knows just how vital clean sheets can be to putting together a championship season. Farr equaled the league's single season record with 18 shutouts for San Antonio to help the club win the Players' Shield before claiming victory in the USL Championship Final.

'Clean sheets are so important for the team to get. It's probably the most important stat line for winning a championship, I believe. As a keeper you love them. They are a team stat. Getting to know Forrest Lasso, Jordan Doherty, Aaron Guillen, Freddy Kleemann, and the other boys that are going to come in to defend has been great. They're great guys. The amount of maturity in that back line is outstanding. It's probably the most mature group I've been with as far as experience, age, and just know-how around the league. It's been to get to know them and work off of them."

Busy Week Ahead

The Rowdies will have all their focus on earning three points in Memphis this Saturday, but when that match ends they know they'll have a busy week ahead. Tampa Bay will return home to host Birmingham in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 on Wednesday, May 8 and then again in league play on Saturday, May 11. The busy week offers a good chance for players returning from injury, such as midfielders Charlie Dennis and Nick Moon, to earn minutes in meaningful matches.

"There may be a few changes to the squad over the next week, but to me it's important that we win these games," said Neilson. "We'll focus on the game on the weekend with the strongest team we have and then we'll look to Wednesday with our strongest team again. There may be one or two wee changes, but not wholesale changes because I think the Open Cup is a really important competition for us."

Jennings and Arteaga Off to a Hot Start

It's been a memorable start to the season for Rowdies forwards Cal Jennings and Manuel Arteaga. The duo have already notched 11 goals between them through the first seven matches. Jennings earned his second USL Championship Team of the Week selection after notching a brace against New Mexico, meanwhile the league announced Arteaga was nominated for Player of the Month for April after recording four goals and one assist to help the Rowdies remain unbeaten.

Availability Report

OUT: Zane Bubb (knee), Leo Fernandes (calf), Zachary Herivaux (knee)

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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