ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (February 20, 2019) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies showed some flexibility Saturday night as 20 players saw the field in a scoreless draw against the Montreal Impact at Al Lang Stadium.
It was the Rowdies second clean sheet in five preseason matches. Tampa Bay has now scored seven goals and conceded four this preseason. Three matches remain on the Rowdies preseason slate before the USL Championship kicks off March 9.
The Rowdies started the match with Mohamed Kone, Papé Diakité and Tarek Morad in a physically dominant back three ahead of goalkeeper John McCarthy, but by the end of the match, Tampa Bay didn’t have a single roster center back on the field.
Montreal had most of the scoring chances, but McCarthy stood up to every test, making a handful of saves to deny the Impact before ultimately leaving the match in the 89th minute. His replacement, Macklin Robinson, made one key kick save to keep Montreal off the board.
Offensively, the Rowdies weren’t at their best, with the starting strike partnership of Juan Tejada and Brandon Allen kept mostly quiet. Tampa Bay’s substitutions in the second half breathed a little life into the attack, but Kwadwo Poku’s shot in second half stoppage rolled just wide of the target in one of the Rowdies only real scoring chances.
By the end of the match, only Jordan Doherty and Caleb Richards had played the full 90 minutes. Doherty started the night in midfield but ended is at the right-sided center back. Richards started in the left wing back position but move to the left-sided center back spot in the 68th minute.
Shawn Barry, who played at center back in Saturday night’s match against D.C. United came off the bench and played at right wing back against Montreal.
It’s all part of the purpose of preseason as Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins tests personnel groupings and which players can use their versatility to play in multiple positions.
Now, the Rowdies will depart for a trip to Georgia with matches against USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta FC on Saturday and Georgia Southern University on Sunday. Tampa Bay will wrap up preseason on March 2 at Corbett Stadium against the University of South Florida Bulls.
Rowdies: GK John McCarthy (Macklin Robinson 89'); D Mohamed Kone (Dominic Oduro 68'), Papé Diakité (Ramzi Toure* 68'), Tarek Morad (Leo Fernandes 68'); M Eti Tavares* (Shawn Barry 68'), Zach Steinberger (Andrew Tinari 74'), Jordan Doherty, Yann Ekra (Kwadwo Poku 74'), Caleb Richards; F Brandon Allen (Sebastian Guenzatti 74'), Juan Tejada (Antoine Hoppenot 74')
Montreal: GK Evan Bush; D Zachary Brault-Guillard, Rudy Camacho, Zakaria Diallo, Daniel Lovitz; M Michael Azira, Ken Krolicki, Shamit Shome, Mathieu Choiniere; F Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Clement Bayiha