CHARLESTON, S.C. (August 3, 2019) – In three previous visits to the Charleston Battery’s MUSC Health Stadium, the Tampa Bay Rowdies had been beaten three times without scoring a single goal in 270 minutes of play.
The Rowdies put those memories behind them with a 5-0 thrashing of the home side Saturday night in a statement win to reclaim first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference after 24 hours in second place.
Lucky Mkosana scored twice in the first four minutes and the Rowdies (13-2-7, 46 points) never looked back. Goals from Malik Johnson, Zach Steinberger and Jaime Siaj provided the cushion Tampa Bay didn’t really need.
Mkosana put the Rowdies ahead only 32 seconds into the match, taking a pass from Zach Steinberger and making the simple first-time finish from six yards out to beat Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky and put the Rowdies ahead 1-0.
The lead was doubled less than three minutes later when Malik Johnson blocked a Battery clearance, with the ball bouncing to Sebastian Guenzatti for a bicycle kick attempt. Guenzatti’s shot his the post and nearly stopped on the goal line before Mkosana tapped it in. Mkosana now has three goals and two assists in 260 minutes of action since being acquired by Tampa Bay in June.
It got worse for the Battery when Johnson’s corner kick in the 34th minute slipped through Kuzminsky’s hands and into the net for a 3-0 Rowdies lead barely half an hour into the night.
Battery midfielder Ataulla Guerra was shown his second yellow card of the night in the 42nd minute, making Tampa Bay’s path to victory clearer still.
Steinberger, already with an assist on the night, scored Tampa Bay’s fourth goal in the 47th minute, capping off a slick passing movement. Johnson assisted the goal, making him the second Tampa Bay player with a goal and an assist in the match.
Jaime Siaj scored his first goal for the Rowdies in the 82nd minute, receiving a pass from Andrew Tinari in traffic and putting it home from two yards out. It was Tinari’s first action since June 8 due to injury. He is now tied with Leo Fernandes for the team lead in assists with five.
Goalkeeper Macklin Robinson, playing in place of the injured John McCarthy, made four saves to keep Tampa Bay’s first clean sheet since June 1.
It was Tampa Bay’s seventh road win of the season, a new Modern Era club record.
The Rowdies will return home next weekend to host the Birmingham Legion on Saturday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Tampa Bay: Lucky Mkosana - 1st minute (assisted by Zach Steinberger)
Tampa Bay: Lucky Mkosana - 4th minute
Tampa Bay: Malik Johnson - 34th minute
Tampa Bay: Zach Steinberger - 47th minute (assisted by Malik Johnson)
Tampa Bay: Jaime Siaj - 82nd minute (assisted by Andrew Tinari)
Charleston: Ataulla Guerra - 21st minute
Charleston: Tah Anunga - 31st minute
Charleston: Ataulla Guerra - 42nd minute (second yellow, red card)
Tampa Bay: Lucky Mkosana - 62nd minute
Charleston: Taylor Mueller - 64th minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK Macklin Robinson; D Tarek Morad, Mohamed Kone, Caleb Richards; M Malik Johnson, Jordan Doherty, Zach Steinberger (Andrew Tinari 76'), Kwadwo Poku, Leo Fernandes (Ryan Felix 85'); F Sebastian Guenzatti (c), Lucky Mkosana (Jaime Siaj 65')
Charleston XI (3-4-3): GK Joe Kuzminsky; D Leland Archer, Taylor Mueller (c), Jarad Van Schaik; M Romario Piggott, Tah Anunga, Angelo Kelly, Kotaro Higashi (Jay Bolt 46'); F Zeiko Lewis (Dante Marini 61'), Ataulla Guerra, Arthur Bosua (Ian Svantesson 73')