ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 30, 2017) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies are back to winning ways following a 1-0 triumph over the visiting Richmond Kickers at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night. Tampa Bay’s fourth win of the season came in its seventh game of the year, setting a new Modern Era club record for fewest games needed to get to four wins.
With that in mind, here’s Three Things to take away from last night’s victory.
1. Deshorn Brown Earns The Top Spot
Not only did Deshorn Brown’s 45th minute scissor kick help the Rowdies to a 1-0 win over the Kickers, but it also landed him the No. 1 spot on ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 countdown Saturday night.
This is Tampa Bay’s second appearance in the Top 10 in recent weeks, with Marcel Schäfer’s long-range rocket against FC Cincinnati on April 18 earning him the No. 2 spot that night. Joe Cole earned the No. 1 spot last summer with his bicycle kick goal against Puerto Rico FC.
Brown’s goal came at a perfect time for the Rowdies, as the home team was struggling a bit to break through Richmond’s compact defensive shell.
“With the type of game it was, we had so much possession and so much movement of the ball,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “About five or 10 minutes before (the goal) happened, I turned to (Assistant Coach Raoul Voss) and said that we were going to need a moment of individual brilliance here to open Richmond up.”
Ask and you shall receive, Coach Campbell.
2. Lowe the Man Mountain
Tampa Bay’s defensive unit returned to its early-season form last night, posting the clubs’ first clean sheet since April 8. The Rowdies’ defensive effort was so dominant Richmond didn’t record a shot on goal in the match.
At the heart of the defense was Damion Lowe, one of just three Rowdies that has played every minute of the season so far. On the rare occasion that the Kickers did get forward on a counter attack, Lowe usually stomped it out.
Lowe posted a monster night statistically, tallying two tackles, four clearances and four interceptions. He won 13 of his 18 duels and five of his six aerial duels, in addition to completing 79 passes at a completion percentage of 82.3 percent.
“(Lowe) was exceptional,” Campbell said. “He was great. He’s gotten better and better by the game and he’s got to continue that because he’s got all the attributes to play at a real, real high level. He’s big, he’s quick and he’s strong. The big thing I liked tonight was that he kept his discipline. I thought it was a harsh yellow card on him and I saw him nearly losing his temper, so I was really happy he kept calm. He was a man mountain back there.”
3. Four changes
Campbell made four changes to his Starting XI from last week’s loss to the Charleston Battery and you’d be hard pressed to say they weren’t successful.
Darnell King, Justin Chavez, Leo Fernandes and Deshorn Brown all returned to the lineup, plus one position switch, with Marcel Schäfer moving to left back in the absence of Luke Boden, who missed the game with an illness.
King contributed to the clean sheet with five clearances. Chavez came into midfield and completed 67 passes at a clip of 91 percent. Fernandes had somewhat of an off night, but helped create space for the Rowdies’ other attackers with his play on the wings. Brown scored the lone goal of the match.
Schäfer’s move to left back was unplanned, but certainly not unfamiliar to him. He primarily played as a left wing back in his decade with VfL Wolfsburg prior to joining the Rowdies. Schäfer led the way for the Rowdies with a nearly perfect pass completion percentage of 95.5 percent.