The Tampa Bay Rowdies picked up their fourth straight victory in a 4-1 result over Loudoun United FC at Segra Field on Saturday night. After battling to a scoreless draw at halftime, the Rowdies attack exploded with four goals, aided by two assists from substitute Dayonn Harris.
“Loudoun were unbeaten here in four, so I think we showed a good performance to create as many chances and win out comfortably,” said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. “We’ve won here before but never quite this comfortably as we did tonight, and I think that suggests what a good performance it was tonight.”
Loudoun had the first and best chance of the opening half early into the match. In the 6th minute, Zoumana Diarra drove in Tampa Bay’s box and rifled a shot toward the near post that required keeper CJ Cochran to get down low and parry away.
As the first half wore on, the Rowdies grew into the match and consistently kept the ball in Loudoun’s half of the field. However, the Rowdies only mustered two efforts on target, both easily handled by Luis Zamudio.
“The first half, there were a lot of positives. We were probably just a little bit short in the final third but I knew if we kept going in that same vein, the game would probably be there for us.”
Looking for a spark, Collins turned to Dayonn Harris and Jake LaCava off the bench. The move worked out beautifully, with the two halftime substitutes combining for Tampa Bay’s go-ahead goal in the 64th minute. Harris offered the setup, pushing the ball past a defender on the left wing and racing into the box to center a pass for LaCava to bury into the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Harris was playing playmaker for the Rowdies again, this time feeding Steevan Dos Santos to finish off at the back post.
“That’s where we’ve been missing Dayonn for a long period of time since the Phoenix game,” said Collins. “I’ve been dying to get him back because I really felt he was just starting to find his feet as an integral part of this team and he came on and did what he expected him to do.”
Tampa Bay Rowdies did not let up after doubling the lead. LaCava provided an assist on a third tally, playing the ball to Leo Fernandes, who deftly redirected the ball into the back of the net with the outside of his boot.
The Rowdies got careless pushing for a fourth goal, allowing Tyler Freeman to put one past Cochran. Only two minutes after Freeman’s strike, though, the Rowdies were back out in front thanks to a volleyed blast from Sebastian Dalgaard that slipped past Zamudio.
Saturday’s win extends Tampa Bay’s unbeaten run to ten matches.
“I’m really enjoying watching us right now, enjoying watching some of the football the boys are playing, individually and collectively. I’m glad they went on and kept pushing on until the very end,” said Collins.
With the result, the Rowdies remain three points back of Louisville City FC for the top spot in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference. Louisville also won on Saturday, knocking off Memphis 901 FC, who fell to third in the standings after the loss. Tampa Bay returns home to face Atlanta United 2 at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets for the match can be purchased here.
TBR- LaCava (Harris), 64’
TBR -Dos Santos (Harris), 68’
TBR – Fernandes (LaCava), 74’
TBR- Freeman, 80’
TBR – Dalgaard (Greig), 82’
TBR: Cochran: Vancaeyezeele, C. Antley, Guillen; Wyke, Hilton, Areman (Harris), Dalgaard; Guenzatti (LaCava, 46’), Dos Santos, Fernandes
LDN: Zamudio; Robinson, Van Steeg, Lillard; Hope-Gund, Gamble, Lehland, Greene; Diarra, Liadi, Downs