ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 14, 2019) -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies took care of business Tuesday night, easing past The Villages SC 4-1 to advance to the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
In doing so, the Rowdies set a new Modern Era club record with an eleven game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
The Villages SC is an amateur team playing in USL League Two (two divisions below the Rowdies) but the Open Cup is known for upsets.
Goals from Mohamed Kone, Zach Steinberger, Brandon Allen and Ryan Felix secured Tampa Bay's passage to the next round. The Rowdies will meet OKC Energy FC (USL Championship) on May 29 in Norman, Oklahoma after they beat NTX Rayados (North Texas Premier Soccer League) 3-1 on Tuesday night.
"Tonight was a great performance," Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. "We spoke before the game that these games almost feel like a lose-lose because you're expected to win. I thought tonight they went out and played fantastically well. We should have been up before we were but we just kept going. There's so many positives to take out tonight."
Steinberger had a hand in the Rowdies first three goals.
The Rowdies were the dominant side from the opening whistle but couldn't find a way past The Villages goalkeeper Jerfesson until the 43rd minute when center back Mohamed Kone put the Rowdies ahead with a thundering header from a Steinberger cross. It was his first goal of the season.
Steinberger scored the Rowdies second goal and seemingly put the match out of reach before halftime.
Steinberger notched his second assist in the 62nd minute, feeding Brandon Allen for an acrobatic finish from close range to make the score 3-0.
Vandyke Gyau scored for The Villages SC in the 89th minute, but a stoppage time goal from Leon Taylor completed the scoreline.
Two young Rowdies Academy products made their competitive debut in the match, with Robbie Soronellas and Jack Casey both coming in off the bench and taking places in the Rowdies midfield in the second half.
The Rowdies will be back in USL Championship action Saturday night when they host the New York Red Bulls II in a clash of teams tied for first place in the Eastern Conference. For tickets, click here.
Tampa Bay: Mohamed Kone - 43rd minute (assisted by Zach Steinberger)
Tampa Bay: Zach Steinberger - 45th minute
Tampa Bay: Brandon Allen - 62nd minute (assisted by Zach Steinberger)
The Villages: Vandyke Gyau - 89th minute (assisted by Gabriel de Freitas
Tampa Bay: Leon Taylor - 90+3 minute
The Villages: Yago Lopes - 40th minute
Tampa Bay: Robbie Soronellas - 83rd minute
Tampa Bay: Mohamed Kone - 88th minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK Chris Konopka; D Mohamed Kone, Ryan Felix, Tarek Morad (c); M David Najem (Robbie Soronellas 46'), Kwadwo Poku (Jack Casey 67'), Zach Steinberger, Jordan Doherty, Caleb Richards; F Brandon Allen, Antoine Hoppenot (Leon Taylor 76')
The Villages XI: Rodrigues Jerfesson, Felipe Pampolin, Yago Lopes, Danilo Suarez (Tunde Akinlosofu 71'), Henrique Devens, Gabriel Viola, Saullo Da Silva (Leo Paiva 46'), Gabriel Cabral de Freitas, Joshua Fawole, Grant Robinson (Sam Ottley 63'), Vandyke Gyau