ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (August 5, 2019) – The Tampa Bay Rowdies stormed to a dominant 5-0 win over the Charleston Battery on Saturday night, reclaiming first place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference after 24 hours in second.
Here’s Three Things from the match…
1. A record-setting performance
After some exhaustive research this morning, we can now confirm that Lucky Mkosana’s goal 32 seconds into the match was the fastest goal in modern Tampa Bay Rowdies history. It was the first goal the Rowdies have ever scored inside the first minute of play. Due to a lack of highlights, we cannot confirm the exact times of some of the other fastest goals, but the top five (and ties) are below:
1 — 1’ Lucky Mkosana at Charleston Battery, August 3, 2019
T-2 — 2’ Chad Burt at Legends FC (U.S. Open Cup), June 15, 2010
T-2 — 2’ Mike Ambersley at Jacksonville United (U.S. Open Cup), May 22, 2012
T-4 — 3’ Chad Burt vs Crystal Palace Baltimore, October 1, 2010
T-4 — 3’ Amani Walker at Carolina RailHawks, August 9, 2014
T-4 — 3’ Kyle Porter vs Jacksonville Armada FC II (U.S. Open Cup), May 16, 2017
T-4 — 3’ Lance Rozeboom vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds, May 19, 2018
But that wasn’t the only record set Saturday night as the Rowdies also logged their biggest road victory in modern franchise history. Tampa Bay had only ever won a match 5-0 once before but that match was at home against Ottawa last season. It was also the first time Charleston had conceded five goals at home.
2. Offensive firepower
While Tampa Bay’s Golden Boot contender failed to get on the scoresheet for the second week in a row, Sebastian Guenzatti’s teammates were there to pick the Rowdies up in a great attacking display. Yes, Charleston’s Ataulla Guerra was shown a second yellow and sent off late in the first half, but the Rowdies had already scored three times and put the match to bed by then.
Forward Lucky Mkosana scored twice in the opening four minutes. He now has three goals and two assists in 260 minutes with the Rowdies this season. Malik Johnson had a goal and an assist, as did Zach Steinberger. Jaime Siaj scored his first goal for the Rowdies. Andrew Tinari came off the bench for his first appearance in two months and picked up an assist.
He didn’t get his name on the stat sheet in any way, but Kwadwo Poku put in a monster performance to lead the Rowdies midfield. He completed a team-high 52 passes (35 in the opposing half) at an eye-popping 94.2 percent completion rate. His ability to drive the ball by dribbling defenders is a huge asset for the Rowdies. He also won 64.3 percent of his duels and made two tackles.
3. Sending the fans home happy
While the home fans didn’t enjoy Saturday night’s match, the loudest fans in the building certainly did.
A sizable set of Skyway Casuals and Ralph’s Mob members made the nearly 1,000 mile roundtrip to support the Rowdies in South Carolina. After scoring Tampa Bay’s third goal of the day, Malik Johnson made a point of bringing the team over to celebrate with the fans that made the trek.
Tampa Bay had never earned a point in three previous visits to Charleston (or even scored a goal), but the Rowdies put on a show for their fans on this occasion. The Rowdies are now 7-1-3 away from home this season. Seven road wins are a new Modern Era record.