Rowdies Fall to 4-2 Defeat to North Carolina
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Tampa Bay Rowdies late summer slump continued Wednesday night as they fell 4-2 on the road to North Carolina FC.
The Rowdies, who lost just once in their first 20 games, have now lost three of their last four. Tampa Bay (13-4-7, 46 points) fell to fourth place in the USL Championship's Eastern Conference with the result. North Carolina (13-5-7, 46 points) jumped all the way up to second place.
"Recently there have been two or three things that have crept into our game that have cost us, but (there's) no panic," Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. "No panic at all. We know we're doing a lot of good things and we'll get some people back fit and we'll be ready to go strong between now and the end of the season."
Tampa Bay was under heavy pressure for the first 10 minutes and ultimately conceded to Dre Fortune in the 19th minute after a sluggish start.
Captain Sebastian Guenzatti leveled the match in the 32nd minute as the Rowdies rallied to take control of the remainder of the half.
All that momentum was killed by halftime as North Carolina took the lead for good just five minutes into the second half via Steven Miller.
The Rowdies kept it close until the 76th minute when North Carolina's Manny Perez made a great solo run down the right wing before playing the ball across the face of goal. Rowdies centerback Pape Diakite turned the ball into his own net for an own goal to put the Rowdies down 3-1.
Miller would score his second goal of the night just three minutes later to make the score 4-1 in the 79th.
Juan Tejada scored a late consolation goal, his eighth of the season, in the 90th minute but it was far too late for Tampa Bay to make a game of it.
The Rowdies will now hope for a home game boost at they return to St. Petersburg to host Memphis 901 FC on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium to open a two-game home stand. Tickets are available here.
North Carolina: Dre Fortune - 19th minute (assisted by Justin Rennicks)
Tampa Bay: Sebastian Guenzatti - 32nd minute (assisted by Kwadwo Poku)
North Carolina: Steven Miller - 50th minute
North Carolina: Own Goal - 76th minute (Pape Diakite)
North Carolina: Steven Miller - 79th minute (assisted by DJ Taylor)
Tampa Bay: Juan Tejada - 90th minute (assisted by Leo Fernandes)
Tampa Bay: Pape Diakite - 72nd minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK Macklin Robinson; D Mohamed Kone, Pape Diakite, Caleb Richards; M Juan Tejada, Dom Oduro (Tarek Morad 80'), Andrew Tinari (Lucky Mkosana 66'), Kwadwo Poku, Leo Fernandes; F Sebastian Guenzatti (c), Jaime Siaj (Malik Johnson 61')
North Carolina XI (4-2-3-1): GK Alex Tambakis; D Aaron Guillen, Sam Brotherton, Alex Comsia, DJ Taylor; M Nazmi Albadawi (Duval Wapiwo 79'), Graham Smith; M Steven Miller (c), Dre Fortune (Austin da Luz 87'), Donovan Ewolo; F Justin Rennicks (Manny Perez 71')
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