The Tampa Bay Rowdies extended their unbeaten streak to four games after defeating the Swope Park Rangers on the road on Sunday afternoon. Goals from Juan Tejada, Sebastian Guenzatti, and Malik Johnson propelled the Eastern Conference pacesetters to their third straight win ahead of next week's meeting with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC. Meanwhile, Alex Martinez's chip in the first half saw Riverhounds SC downed by the Charlotte Independence on Sunday afternoon, a win that propelled the Independence's unbeaten run to six straight games.
MATTHEWS, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence defeated Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, 1-0, in a game that was temporarily abandoned after 80 minutes due to repeated lightning strikes in the area before being restarted for the final 10 minutes. Charlotte started out strongly and tested Riverhounds SC goalkeeper Austin Pack after just four minutes after the Independence weaved through the Pittsburgh midfield and produced a chance for forward Niki Jackson that Pack did well to keep out. Persisting in attack, the hosts were able to get their goal through a moment of sharp thinking from midfielder Alex Martinez, who took a pass on the bounce and clipped an effort up and over Pack to take the lead. Holding that advantage into the second half, Charlotte nearly found a second goal through Enzo Martinez when the forward recovered a ball from the Pittsburgh defense and charged at goal only to fire wide of goal in the end. In the 80th minute, the match was temporarily abandoned due to lightning in the area and resumed after an approximate delay after 45 minutes. Even upon the restart, Pittsburgh could not generate anything offensively as they failed to register a shot on target all night while Charlotte extended their unbeaten streak to six straight games.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Alex Martinez, Charlotte Independence – Martinez scored Charlotte’s lone goal and created one chance while completing just shy of 86 percent of his passes in the win.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies continued their dominant run in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Swope Park Rangers, 1-3, at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday. The visitors got off the mark after 14 minutes when midfielder Yann Ekra picked up a recycled cross outside the box and returned service, picking out teammate Juan Tejada in the center of the area who powered home a header from close out. Towards the end of the first half, the Rowdies were gifted their second goal when an errant pass from Swope goalkeeper Eric Dick led to defender Graham Smith conceding a penalty that forward Sebastian Guenzatti put away to double his team’s lead. Just before the hour mark, Tampa Bay broke through for their third when Guenzatti fed in midfielder Malik Johnson, who smashed a low effort through Dick’s legs and in. On the other end, Johnson was judged to have illegally brought down forward Ethan Vanacore-Decker in the 71st minute, giving an opportunity back to the hosts. Stepping up, Vanacore-Decker had his first attempt saved by Rowdies goalkeeper Macklin Robinson but quickly followed up to put the rebound home and give Swope their lone goal of the night.
USL Championship Man of the Match
Sebastian Guenzatti, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Guenzatti scored Tampa Bay’s spot kick and registered the assist on Johnson’s goal while also creating three chances as the Rowdies extended their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.