1. The unluckiest man
Tamika Mkandawire’s second USL start of the season was filled with heartbreak as he was surely the unluckiest man on the field over the course of 90 minutes.
First, Mkandawire scored a goal in the 18th minute, only for it to be called off for a foul.
Next, he made a perfect tackle to steal the ball off Charlotte forward Jorge Herrera in the 56th minute, only to see the ball roll directly into the path of the Independence’s Dennis Castillo, who sniped it home for his second goal of the match.
In the final act of the tragic comedy, Mkandawire nearly won the match for the Rowdies in the dying seconds, only to see his header go off the post.
Perhaps if Mkandawire had been just a little luckier, Tampa Bay would have won the match.
2. A Savage goal
Keith Savage entered the match as a second-half substitute and totally changed the tone, increasing the Rowdies’ tempo, just as Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell predicted he would.
When Keith went on, I had a funny feeling he was going to nick a goal because he times his runs to perfection," Campbell said. "I'm delighted for Keith because he came on and raised the game. He increased the speed of play and raised the tempo of the team and he deserved the goal."
It was one of those runs into the box that produced the Rowdies’ equalizer, with Savage arrived late in the box unmarked to score off a Michael Nanchoff assist. It was the culmination of a blinding counter attack by the Rowdies that showed the best of what they’re capable of.
The goal was Savage’s 17th with the Rowdies, moving him into a tie with Luke Mulholland for fourth-most in the Modern Era.
Savage was on the field for just 23 minutes, but completed 15 passes at a rate of 93.3 percent.
3. Coming home, at least for a little while
In the last 30 days, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have played one quarter of their away matches for the entire USL season, visiting Ottawa, Toronto, Rochester and Charlotte since May 6. Add in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup visit to Miami FC and three home games in that time span and it’s been as busy of a month as Tampa Bay has ever had.
At long last, the Rowdies now have almost a full week of preparation before Saturday’s home match against the Rochester Rhinos.
After that though, back on the road for three straight matches, visiting Richmond, Pittsburgh and Charleston on weekends through July 1.