Three Things: Rowdies 1 - 1 Charleston
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 16, 2019) - The Tampa Bay Rowdies came up just short of a victory Saturday night, conceding an equalizer off a set piece in the 88th minute to draw 1-1 against the Charleston Battery.
Here's Three Things from the match...
1. Stats not enough
It was another statistical domination for the Rowdies on Saturday night as the fatigued Battery came with a clear gameplan and executed it well. Charleston is always a good team and one the Rowdies have traditionally struggled against. Tampa Bay has only beaten the Battery once in seven all-time meetings. Charleston's plan was to sit in deep, keep the Rowdies outside the 18-yard box and hope for a set piece or two to try and score.
The Rowdies had 68.2 percent of possession (a season-high) and completed 586 passes (also a season-high) but they simply didn't have the cutting edge to turn those advantages into a win. For comparison, Charleston completed only 280 passes.
"Our general, all-around play was slacking the sharpness that we've had," Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. "I thought at times in the first half we played some excellent stuff, moved the ball well and we could cut them open but when we got the goal I thought we'd move on from that. But we're definitely a team that needs to learn how to play when we're ahead. I think we maybe took a backwards step and started making some poor decisions. It's definitely a learning process."
2. Guenzatti fires again
Rowdies forward Sebastian Guenzatti continued his positive start to the season Saturday night, firing home his seventh goal of the year to pace the Rowdies. Seven goals in 15 matches is a healthy return of a goal just about every other game. Guenzatti opened the year with two penalties in the Rowdies first three matches, but all five goals since then have come from open play or corner kicks.
He completed more than 80 percent of his passes, hit the target with every shot he took and won more duels than he lost.
3. Some healthy, some not
Rowdies midfielder Yann Ekra returned to the field last night for the first time since April 13 after missing two months with an ankle injury. Defender Shawn Barry was on the bench for the first time since sustaining a rib injury in Nashville on May 8. That appearance came after Barry had missed three matches with an ankle injury.
Ekra and Barry were both key players in the early season for the Rowdies. Ekra played in all six matches before his injury, while Barry played in all but one, missing the Saint Louis FC match while on international duty with Puerto Rico.
While those two players are just about ready to return after two long injury layoffs, the Rowdies were without Andrew Tinari and Leo Fernandes due to minor injuries on Saturday night. Fernandes hasn't played since May 28 due to a hamstring injury, while Tinari exited last weekend's match before halftime with a groin injury. Fernandes and Tinari alone count for eight of the 14 assists the Rowdies have this season, perhaps explaining why the offense didn't quite click into high gear against Charleston. Neither is expected to be out too much longer.
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