BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Jun. 1, 2019) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies received another huge performance from goalkeeper John McCarthy to defeat Birmingham Legion FC 2-0 on the road Saturday night and extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
With another win, the Rowdies (8-0-5, 29 points) now have a six point cushion above New York Red Bulls II in second place. It was Tampa Bay’s fifth-consecutive clean sheet in USL Championship play and ninth in 13 league matches overall. The Rowdies haven’t conceded a league goal since April 27.
Sebastian Guenzatti and Andrew Tinari had the goals for the Rowdies, but it was McCarthy who put in a Man of the Match performance, making four total saves.
Guenzatti gave the Rowdies a lead in the 24th minute with his team-high sixth goal of the season, breaking a slump that had lasted since April 27.
Birmingham (3-6-3, 12 points) looked to tie the match up quickly on a well-taken free kick, but McCarthy made an unbelievable save as he fell into his own net, keeping the ball outside the goal with just a few inches to spare and denying JJ Williams.
Andrew Tinari, who assisted Guenzatti for the first goal, got a goal of his own just before halftime, taking a pass from Malik Johnson and firing it through Legion FC goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel to put Tampa Bay up 2-0 at halftime.
Shortly after the break, McCarthy was put to the test again when Rowdies defender Caleb Richards was adjudged to have committed a foul just inside his own 18-yard box. Brian Wright stepped up to take the penalty for Birmingham, but McCarthy came up big again, diving to his right-hand side and denying Wright’s effort from 12 yards away in the 50th minute.
McCarthy had one big save left to make, again diving right to deny Wright on a low, hard effort in the 74th minute.
The Rowdies now return home to host North Carolina FC at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday night, June 8th at 7:30. Tickets are available here.
Tampa Bay: Sebastian Guenzatti - 28th minute (assisted by Andrew Tinari)
Tampa Bay: Andrew Tinati - 44th minute (assisted by Malik Johnson)
Tampa Bay: Malik Johnson - 20th minute
Birmingham: Mikey Lopez - 28th minute
Birmingham: Prosper Kasim - 69th minute
Tampa Bay: Caleb Richards - 71st minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK John McCarthy; D Tarek Morad, Pape Diakite, Caleb Richards; M Malik Johnson (Mohamed Kone 74'), Dom Oduro, Andrew Tinari (Zach Steinberger 56'), Jordan Doherty, David Najem; F Sebastian Guenzatti (c), Juan Tejada
Birmingham XI (4-5-1): Matt VanOekel; D Eric Avila (Daigo Kobayashi 90'), Femi Hollinger-Janzen, Mathieu Laurent, Kyle Culbertson; M Razak Cromwell (Joe Holland 64'), Mikey Lopez (c), Prosper Kasim (Chandler Hoffman 73'), Daniel Johnson, JJ Williams; F Brian Wright