ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 5, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies kicked off an important month with a 3-1 win over Toronto FC II on Wednesday night, with Georgi Hristov finally claiming the Rowdies’ all-time scoring record with his 58th goal in green and gold.
Here’s Three Things we learned from the match…
1. Legend Status
At long last, Georgi Hristov is the leading scorer in Tampa Bay Rowdies history. He scored his 58th goal for the club last night, surpassing Derek Smethurst’s record of 57 goals which had stood since 1978.
Hristov tied the record with a goal against Real Monarchs SLC on April 21, but had to wait more than two months until his long lob in the eighth minute of action Wednesday night.
Hristov makes History!
His 58th goal for the @TampaBayRowdies puts him as the leading all-time scorer for the club
“I’m delighted for Georgi,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “We knew it was just a matter of time because a goal scorer is always a goal scorer. We were looking back at his record only last week and he’s got a goal every three games or every four games in his career, so that’s pretty impressive. He’s been getting into the right places and not put it in the net, and that’s a big sign that it’s going to come. I’m pleased for him. It’s huge for the club to have the record goal scorer in our ranks and it couldn’t happen to be a nicer guy.”
As for his part, Hristov said he was just happy his breakthrough moment came in a win.
“It means a lot to me,” Hristov said. “The Rowdies are such an old club with a lot of history, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the three points. Let’s not take away the effort that the guys put in tonight. We deserved the win, so I’m even more happy that we won the game.”
For more on Hristov’s record-setting performance, click here.
2. Smoove strikes again
Leon “El Smoove” Taylor proved again last night that he’s ready and able to score whenever asked. The young Rowdies forward, playing for his first professional team in the United States, scored 20 minutes into his debut on June 9 against Nashville. He scored against Penn FC in his second appearance with the Rowdies on June 22 and guess what he did last night…
That’s right, he scored against Toronto FC II to run his record to three goals in three games.
3. The journey continues
Wednesday night's win over Toronto FC II kicked off a hugely important month for the Rowdies. Tampa Bay now has a short turnaround before hosting the defending USL Cup champions, Louisville City FC, on Saturday night.
Louisville City FC will be without former Head Coach James O'Connor, who departed for Orlando City SC last week. In O'Connor's stead, Louisville City will be under the direction of three co-head coaches/players in George Davis IV, Paolo DelPiccolo and Luke Spencer. Those three players have combined for 34 appearances and 2,354 minutes this season.
Next week, the Rowdies head to Ohio to meet first-place FC Cincinnati in another heavyweight bout. The Rowdies knocked FC Cincinnati out of the postseason last year.
After that, Tampa Bay returns home to close the month with back-to-back Saturday night matches against fifth-place Indy Eleven, a former rival, and then New York Red Bulls II. New York knocked the Rowdies out of the playoffs last year and laid a 5-0 drubbing on the Rowdies earlier this season.