The Tampa Bay Rowdies' Sebastian Guenzatti and Phoenix Rising FC's Rufat Dadashov will be hoping to lead their attacks to success on Sunday night in the 2020 USL Championship Final at Al Lang Stadium.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – If the projections are anything to go by, we might be in for one of the most competitive USL Championship Finals in the league’s 10-season history when Eastern Conference title-winner the Tampa Bay Rowdies play host to Western Conference title-winner Phoenix Rising FC at Al Lang Stadium (8:30 p.m. ET | ESPN | ESPN Deportes | SiriusXM FC).
The Rowdies are projected as a 51 percent favorite to claim victory on home turf by fivethirtyeight.com after their victory on Saturday night against Louisville City FC earned the club’s first trip to the Championship Final since it joined the league in 2017. The Rowdies have lost only once on home turf this season and have been one of the best defensive sides in the Championship throughout 2020 with eight shutouts and only 14 goals conceded in 19 games.
Phoenix, meanwhile, has boasted one of the best attacks in the Championship this season but has had to battle through extra time in each of its three prior postseason contests, including penalty shootouts in both its victory against Reno 1868 FC in the Conference Semifinals and El Paso Locomotive FC in the Conference Final. Rising FC will be looking to become the second team in the Championship Final’s history to claim victory on the road, following the win by Real Monarchs SLC in last year’s edition.
The Championship Final has gone to extra time twice in its previous nine editions, in 2011 when Orlando City SC took victory against the Harrisburg City Islanders in a penalty shootout and in 2015 when the Rochester Rhinos rallied for a 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy II.