ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Foster Langsdorf scored with five minutes to go as the Tampa Bay Rowdies overcame an early deficit to take a 2-1 victory against Loudoun United FC on Friday night at Al Lang Stadium for their fifth consecutive home win to start the season.
After making a positive start without reward in its last outing on Tuesday night, Loudoun capitalized on its first real opportunity against the Rowdies. Picking up possession just inside the attacking half, the ball came to Jeremy Garay, who quickly shifted play down the flank for Darluis Paz to deliver a low ball across the top of the six-yard area where a sliding Robbie Dambrot was arriving at the back post for a finish that just snuck inside the left upright.
The visitors threatened again in the 15th minute off a free kick on the left as Barry Sharifi sent a cross to the far post where Wahab Ackwei headed just wide. A minute later, the Rowdies could have equalized on their first good look on goal, but Jordan Adebayo-Smith couldn’t finish a good near-post cross from the left by Leo Fernandes, sliding his shot wide of the right post.
The hosts looked disconnected at times, though, and in the 24th minute it almost led to a second goal for Dambrot as the attacking midfielder was the beneficiary of an errant backward pass near the top-left edge of the penalty area, only to be closed down quickly by Rowdies goalkeeper Evan Louro and defender Jordan Scarlett, who blocked his shot.
After the water break at the half-hour mark, though, the Rowdies came out appearing refocused, and quickly replied. A low shot from the left side of the penalty area by Fernandes went through United goalkeeper Keegan Meyer and spilled into the right side of the penalty area, where Conner Antley quickly drove the ball back across goal for Sebastian Guenzatti to tap home his fifth goal of the season.
Loudoun almost regained the lead five minutes before halftime as Ted Ku-DiPietro fired just wide of the right post from the top of the penalty area, and that was soon followed by Adebayo-Smith missing a second gilt-edged opportunity for the hosts as Antley played a good give-and-go with Zach Steinberger to get in on the right side before delivering a low cross that the English forward mishit and sent wide of the left post.
Still level at the break, United again opened well in the second half and threatened to regain the lead as Paz played a good pass through to Jovanny Bolivar for a powerfully-struck shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area that Louro parried behind in the 47th minute. Samson Sergi also went close as he was played into the right side of the penalty area by Bolivar 10 minutes later but lifted his finish over the crossbar as Louro came off his line quickly to narrow the angle.
The Rowdies’ first big chance of the second half didn’t arrive until the 63rd minute as Guenzatti almost notched his second goal of the night with a strong header to the left corner off a cross by Fernandes that Meyer reacted well to save. The visitors controlled more of the flow of the game as the game continued, though, giving Tampa Bay limited chances to get into the attacking third. Fernandes provided the most threat for the hosts as he looked to take on defenders when the ball came to his feet, and almost inevitably the Brazilian had a role in the Rowdies’ late go-ahead goal.
After winning a corner kick on the left side, Fernandes delivered the ball in toward the near post where it was met by Forrest Lasso, whose redirection took it toward the far post where Langsdorf was on hand to bundle home his first goal since arriving on loan from Minnesota United, lifting the Rowdies to victory.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Leo Fernandes, Tampa Bay Rowdies – Fernandes played a role in both goals, had three key passes and completed 3 of 4 dribbles and 4 of 4 crosses to lead the Rowdies back to victory before their home fans.
LDN – Robbie Dambrot (Darluis Paz) 4’
TBR – Sebastian Guenzatti (Conner Antley) 34’
TBR – Foster Langsdorf 85’