ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Tampa Bay Rowdies blew open the doors at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, setting club records for most goals recorded in a match and in a single season. Rowdies captain Sebastian Guenzatti contributed two of Tampa Bay’s goals in the 8-0 rout of Loudoun United FC, giving him sole possession of the club’s all-time scoring record.
“That’s the best way to win,” said Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins. “To be relentless. To be relentless against the ball. To keep a clean sheet. To create chances. It should give our players a lot of confidence.”
Guenzatti got his historic goal out of the way in the 19th minute, drawing a penalty and then stepping up to the spot to convert and move past previous Rowdies scoring record holder Georgi Hristov’s 60-goal tally.
Center back Robert Castellanos doubled the lead only four minutes later. Rising to met a Lewis Hilton corner kick sent to the near post, Castellanos squeaked a header off the post and past keeper Luis Zamudio.
Just as the visitors were looking to get back in the locker room and regroup at halftime, Jake LaCava struck with another dagger in stoppage time. Stripping a defender of the ball on the endline, LaCava drove into the box before depositing a shot into the back of the net.
Loudoun had a brief positive spell at the start of the second half. However, Rowdies keeper Phil Breno handled the initial shot and then watched forward Jonathan Benteke lift his rebound attempt directly into the crossbar. The sequence was Loudoun’s only effort on net all night.
As the match passed the hour mark, Guenzatti lit up the crowd with a sensational volley to bring his all-time Rowdies goal total to 62. Conner Antey offered the set for Guenzatti, lofting a sublime cross in from the right flank that Guenzatti plucked out of the air to smash home.
Antley notched another assist three minutes later, slipping in a cross for Sebastian Dalgaard, who quickly navigated his way into dangerous areas and then blasted a shot into the top left corner.
Substitute Lucky Mkosana kept the momentum going with another goal in the 83rd minute. Mkosana beat Zumidio to a ball played to the near post from the left wing by USL Academy signing Tate Johnson. It was Johnson’s first professional assist.
Another substitute, Dayonna Harris, made his impact on the match felt with two goals in the final ten minutes from nearly the same exact spot of the box.
The eight-goal tally sets a Rowdies record for goals scored in a single match. On top of that, the Rowdies entered the night even with the 2019 Rowdies squad for most goals in a single season. With eight goals added, the 2022 Rowdies now can claim the club record all to themselves.
“The big thing about tonight is every man played well. Every man, subs included,” said Collins. “I’ve not been able to say that as often as I’d like and unfortunately there’s been too often where we’ve had only four or five guys play well. Tonight, to a man, everyone played well and the attitude was fantastic. You look at Loudoun, and that has not happened to them too often. You cannot take that for granted.”
With the win, the Rowdies clinch a home match in the first round of the USL Championship playoffs, which will be played on October 22 at Al Lang Stadium. First, the Rowdies will look to close out the regular season on a high note in their final two matches, a Wednesday showdown versus El Paso Locomotive FC, and then a Saturday clash against New York Red Bulls II. Fans can purchase tickets to both matches by clicking here or calling 727-222-2000.
TBR – Guenzatti (penalty), 19’
TBR – Castellanos (Hilton), 23’
TBR – LaCava, 45+1’
TBR – Guenzatti (Antley), 61’
TBR – Dalgaard (Antley), 64’
TBR – Mkosana (Johnson), 83’
TBR – Harris (Law), 87’
TBR – Harris (Law), 90+2’