NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 8, 2019) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies moved into a tie for first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference and tied a club record in the process with a big 1-0 road victory over Nashville SC.
Juan Tejada scored the lone goal for the Rowdies in the 34th minute and the stingiest defense in the league held strong to pull the Rowdies (5-0-5, 20 points) level with New York Red Bulls II in first place. The result also extended Tampa Bay’s unbeaten run to 10 matches, tying a Modern Era club record originally set in 2013.
Nashville (4-3-2, 14 points) started the match better with Rowdies goalkeeper John McCarthy forced to punch a knuckling shot from Daniel Rios over his own crossbar just three minutes into the game.
In the 34th minute, Tejada scored his second goal of the season off a well-worked free kick. Leo Fernandes lobbed the ball to the back post for a waiting Sebastian Guenzatti to head back across the face of goal. Tejada was waiting and fired it over the heads of a pair of Nashville defenders into the back of the net. It was Guenzatti’s first assist of the season.
Nashville brought in as much firepower as it could for the second half, with last year’s USL Championship Golden Boot winner Cameron Lancaster coming on at halftime to form a potent strike partnership with Rios. Both Rios and Lancaster are already signed to Nashville’s Major League Soccer roster for next season.
Still, the Rowdies looked solid defensively. Apart from a deep Lancaster free kick in the 56th minute and Lebo Moloto shot from distance in the 66th, Tampa Bay goalkeeper John McCarthy didn’t have too much to do. He made three saves in the match to post his sixth clean sheet in 10 matches to start the year. The Rowdies have still only conceded a league-best four goals in 2019.
Tampa Bay nearly scored a second goal in the 68th minute with Guenzatti fighting through a series of defenders before laying the ball off for Fernandes, but his shot went just wide of the post. In the end, the Rowdies wouldn’t need a second goal.
Up next, the Rowdies switch their focus to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as they take on The Villages SC in a Second Round match at Al Lang Stadium on Tuesday, May 14. Kickoff of that match is set for 7 p.m. and admission will be free of charge. The Rowdies will return to league action Saturday, May 18 as they host the New York Red Bulls II in a top-of-the-table clash.
Tampa Bay: Juan Tejada - 34th minute (assisted by Sebastian Guenzatti)
Nashville: Darnell King - 36th minute
Tampa Bay: Tarek Morad - 90th minute
Tampa Bay: Mohamed Kone - 90+1 minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK John McCarthy; D Tarek Morad, Pape Diakite, Caleb Richards; M David Najem (Shawn Barry 61' (Mohamed Kone 79')), Dom Oduro, Andrew Tinari (Kwadwo Poku 83'), Jordan Doherty, Leo Fernandes; F Sebastian Guenzatti (c), Juan Tejada
Nashville XI (4-4-2): GK Matt Pickens; D Darnell King (Cameron Lancaster 46'), Bradley Bourgeois, Ken Tribbett, Justin Davis; M Taylor Washington (Alan Winn 78'), Bolu Akinyode (Lebo Moloto 63'), Michael Reed, Matt Lagrassa; F Kharlton Belmar, Daniel Rios