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Match Preview: #MEMvTBR

By Rowdies Communications, 03/08/19, 9:00AM EST


The Basics
Memphis 901 FC vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Saturday, March 9, 7 p.m. ET
AutoZone Park, Memphis, Tennessee
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday

How to Watch
The match will be broadcast online on ESPN+ here.

2018 Records
Tampa Bay: 11-15-8 (W-L-T); 4-10-3 on road; 12th place 
Memphis: N/A

Rowdies Notes
The Tampa Bay Rowdies head into the 2019 season with a revamped roster after missing the USL Cup playoffs in a disappointing 2018 season. Head Coach Neill Collins is back for his first full season in charge. He took over last May after the dismissal of Stuart Campbell. Collins, 35, played a little more than two seasons for the Rowdies before retiring to become a coach.

The Rowdies posted a 5-2-1 (W-L-T) record in preseason against a mix of MLS, USL and college teams. In those eight games, the Rowdies scored 15 goals and conceded eight. Brandon Allen finished as the Rowdies preseason scoring leader with three goals. Juan Tejada and Kwadwo Poku had two goals each.

Of the 24 players on the Rowdies opening day roster, only eight are returning players from the 2018 season: Pape Diakite, Tarek Morad, David Najem, Leo Fernandes, Dominic Oduro, Kwadwo Poku, Sebastian Guenzatti and Leon Taylor. Of that group, only Fernandes and Guenzatti began the season with the Rowdies. The other six were all midseason additions. Heading into just his third season with the Rowdies, Fernandes is the most tenured player with 39 league appearances.

In addition to the eight returning players, Collins welcomed 16 new players into the field from a variety of backgrounds. On the whole, the Rowdies now have a significantly younger roster than in seasons past. Tampa Bay had nine players over the age of 30 last season, compared to just one (33-year-old goalkeeper Chris Konopka) in 2019. The Rowdies have three players aged 20 or younger in Caleb Richards (20), Malik Johnson (20) and Jordan Doherty (18.)

Caleb Richards joined the Rowdies on a season-long loan in February in the first significant move of Tampa Bay’s new partnership with EFL Championship side Norwich City FC. Richards signed a contract
extension with Norwich prior to joining the Rowdies.

Jordan Doherty joined the Rowdies on a season-long loan in February from EFL Championship side Sheffield United FC. When he makes his debut, he will become the first player born in 2000 to play in a competitive match for the Rowdies.

Injury Report: OUT: F Malik Johnson (shoulder)