Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC
Saturday, March 16, 7:30 p.m. ET
Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Follow us for live updates on Twitter at @RowdiesGameday
Tickets for Saturday’s match are available by calling (727) 222-2000 or clicking here. New in 2019, gates will open at 6:30 p.m., 60 minutes before kickoff of all matches.
Tampa Bay: 1-0-0 (W-L-T), 7th place; 0-0-0 at home
Pittsburgh: 0-0-0 (W-L-T), 11th place; 0-0-0 on road
The Tampa Bay Rowdies return to Al Lang Stadium for their 2019 home opener after picking up an opening day win on the road over expansion side Memphis 901 FC. This is the second consecutive year the Rowdies have won on the road on opening day before playing their home opener. Tampa Bay won last year’s home opener 2-0 over Bethlehem Steel FC.
Juan Tejada and Sebastian Guenzatti got the Rowdies off to a quick start last week in Memphis, with Tejada drawing a penalty just three minutes after kickoff. Guenzatti converted the penalty for the only goal of the match.
Tejada was a surprise starter for the Rowdies after coming into preseason as an unsigned trialist. He eventually earned a contract and was given the nod to start the match in Memphis.
Defender Pape Diakite was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week on Tuesday for his stellar performance against Memphis. He recorded 13 clearances and won 11 of his 12 duels.
Midfielder Jordan Doherty made a late cameo as an 89th minute substitute against Memphis and in the process became the first player born in the year 2000 to play for the Rowdies in a competitive match. Doherty is with the Rowdies on loan from Sheffield United FC.
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.)
Injury Report: OUT: F Malik Johnson (shoulder)