A 68th minute penalty by Sebastian Guenzatti was what separated the Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery Friday night, as the Rowdies won a score of 1-0.
In a game which the Rowdies had most of the possession, but the game produced few chances for either side, it looked like the game was petering out to a 0-0 draw before the penalty, conceded by Leland Archer after the referee adjudged him to have tripped up Jordan Adebayo Smith. Guenzatti converted the penalty to mark his 100th appearance for the Rowdies with a goal, which would eventually give his side the three points.
The home side had most of the chances in the first half, and after just nine minutes, Joe Kuzminsky was forced into his first save of the evening when Leo Fernandes made his way down the left before finding eventual goalscorer Guenzatti in the six yard box with a well placed cross, only for Kuzminsky to stay big and save with his legs as the ball went out for a corner, which was wasted.
Stavros Zarokostas, who started up front with Nicque Daley in what was the same forward line that saw the Battery prevail over Loudoun, but the striker would need to be replaced by Joel Bunting after 24 minutes after a collision on the Battery’s right side by Forrest Lasso that the referee deemed a fair challenge.
On 27′, the Rowdies would go down the right side, an initial shot was blocked away, but not far enough out of danger, and then crossed back in and not cleared, leading to a Leo Fernandes shot over the bar.
On 35′, Leland Archer was the Battery’s last line of defense as a ball from the right made its way into the middle searching for the foot of Guenzatti, but the center back put in a vital last ditch challenge to clear the danger.
This meant that the first half would end with not much action to be had. The Rowdies would end the first 45 with 68% of possession, but realistically the only chance of the half was Guenzatti’s shot in the 9th minute.
On the other side of the break, Tampa continued their dominance. Zach Steinberger would force Joe Kuzminsky into a save from a header following a corner kick, but the save was an easy one for him.
The game looked to be petering out to a 0-0 draw, but on 67′, Tampa substitute Jordan Adebayo-Smith would earn his side a penalty following a collision in the box with Leland Archer. The striker was trying to weave his way into an opportunity, and the call from the referee was at the least very harsh, as it looked that the attacker had dragged his feet as he went into the challenge, but the referee pointed to the spot.
Kuzminsky in goal went the other way, giving Guenzatti the goal to mark his milestone, and the Rowdies the lead.
The Battery could feel aggrieved to give away the penalty, but in the end were punished for sitting so deep and waiting for a counter instead of being proactive, eventually leading to the slip up from a tired defense.
However, the goal gave the Black and Yellow a wake up call, and they went forward almost immediately. On 71, Burke Fahling’s cross would eventually fall for Joel Bunting, but the striker snatched at his shot, sending the ball over the bar as he leaned back.
Patrick Hogan flicked a Battery corner into a dangerous area at the back post with 15 minutes to go, but Joel Bunting couldn’t get to the bouncing ball and the effort would go wide.
And with 11 minutes to go, at the other end, Leo Fernandes would weave his way through the Battery defense, only to lose his footing before his shot as his effort would dribble wide.
However, that’s how the match would finish, with the Battery unable to find a foot in the game and being punished for not using the ball effectively.
Another short week is in store for the Black and Yellow, as they face another rival, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, on Wednesday July 7th at Patriot’s Point. Kick Off is scheduled for 7:30PM, and those unable to attend can stream the game on ESPN+.
TOP IMAGE: JOEL BUNTING FIGHTS FOR A BALL IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE BATTERY’S LOSS TO TAMPA. TAMPA BAY ROWDIES PHOTO.