MONTCLAIR, N.J. – A first-half goal by Jordan Adebayo-Smith earned the Tampa Bay Rowdies a fifth consecutive victory to start the 2021 USL Championship season as the side took a 1-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls II on Wednesday night at MSU Soccer Park.
With the win, the Rowdies will have the chance to equal the best start to a season in the Championship’s history on Saturday night looking for a sixth consecutive win as they visit the Charlotte Independence at Memorial Stadium.
After an up-tempo start by both sides, the Rowdies threatened first in the fifth minute as a short corner on the left gave Lewis Hilton an angle to deliver to the back post where Forrest Lasso rose highest to head back across goal but just wide of the left post. Leo Fernandes also had an early look for the visitors as he stole an errant pass in the attacking third, but his shot was high and wide of the left side of the net.
Both teams looked threatening in possession, and the Rowdies had another good chance in the 27th minute as Zach Steinberger helped regain possession inside the Red Bulls II penalty area before slipping a pass left to Sebastian Guenzatti, who’s quickly taken shot was saved by New York’s AJ Marcucci before Mandela Egbo cleared. The visitors took the lead five minutes later, however, as Jordan Doherty delivered a pass with the outside of his right boot that sent Adebayo-Smith away on a counterattack, and the young English forward calmly finished to the right corner for his second goal of the season.
The Red Bulls II tried to for an equalizer as the second half began and both Roald Mitchell and Tom Barlow forced saves from Rowdies goalkeeper Evan Louro before the hour-mark. Juan Castillo then fired a low shot from the top-left edge of the penalty area wide of the right post with 15 minutes to go, while Omar Sowe had a shot from 25 yards out at the top of the penalty area blocked wide by the Rowdies’ Steinberger.
The hosts had one final chance to grab an equalizer in the 90th minute as John Tolkin sent a looping cross in from the right side after a short corner that landed in the penalty area and was almost seized on by Mitchell at close range, but Louro trapped possession and covered the ball to complete his third shutout of the season and keep the Rowdies' chance at history alive.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Jordan Doherty, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Doherty provided a sublime assist on Jordan Adebayo-Smith’s goal and helped the Rowdies centrally, completing 28 of 36 passes and recording four key passes overall as well as eight recoveries.
TBR – Jordan Adebayo-Smith (Jordan Doherty) 32’