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Match Preview: at Tampa Bay Rowdies

After a week off, Louisville City heads to tropical Tampa Bay, Florida to take on the Rowdies in a game of the East Titans. The Rowdies currently sit 2nd with 14 points and a record of 4-2-2. City currently sits 3rd with 2 games in hand, with 12 points and a record of 3-0-3. This game will be played at Tampa’s long time home (2010 being a long time ago), Al Lang Stadium. Let’s dive into the keys to the game.

Tampa Bay Rowdies:

  Tampa’s first key to the game will be to continue their dominating home performances. Minus a 2-3 loss to Charleston on April 22, they have outscored opponents at home nine goals to three, and have only lost one game there. This will be huge for Tampa if they can make their stadium a fortress in the USL. If Tampa wants to make their claim on the USL title race, it starts at home against LCFC.

The second key will be to free up Joe Cole, Georgi Hristov, and Deshorn Brown. Those three have been the dominating attacking presences for Tampa, combining for eight of the team’s 11 goals, and assisting two more. They’ll need to be on the top of their game in order to have a great result.

The final key I see is to shut down the Louisville City attack. Although not as potent as it used to be (a topic for another day), LCFC still has a strong presence going forward. Tampa will need to shut this down to get a result, similar to what the Tornotwo goalkeeper did last game. Little man was solid. If we could vote for him as MotM I would have easily the best player that night on the field.

Louisville City:

The first key to the game is for City to continue their strong away form. They got a result at Orlando early, thanks to a PK they got past Richmond, and then FC Cincy had a late equalizer. So far the results have been good away from home (2-0-1). Look for that to continue, as we need it to stake our claim on the USL.

The second key, bear with me here, is to find a goal scorer who can convert often but help on defense. For the past two seasons we had a poacher up front like Fondy and Hoffman who gave us excitement. So far Lancaster and Spencer (who I do not believe is a FC Cincy sleeper agent as I’ve heard some say) do not fit the bill as a poacher. However, Luke Spencer did have a solid game last game. Many of us see poachers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Javier Hernandez, etc. and we think all strikers are that way (aka I don’t play defense). The “one chance, one goal” men, who snuff a chance out of nothing is not a striker.  Good strikers are playmakers first and goal scorers second, which is what Lancaster and Spencer are doing well. Good strikers have pretty even numbers on goals scored and assists.

This leads me to our second key of the game, which is to get the defense involved in the game. It seems like last year our left and right defenders frequently went to overlap our wingers and swing in a cross. I do not see that as often this season. Smith is great at it, get him involved. Jimenez is good at it as well as others.

My final point: we need the wingers to continue their great form. Shout out to all the wingers on the team! We thought the loss of Dacres was going to mean we had a weak side on the wings. That is far from the truth as Ownby, Kaye, and others have stepped in and been exceptional. Another big shout out to Tim Dowbrowoski who has more than proved he can be the Number 1 keeper. 

Prediction: Tampa Bay 2-1 Louisville City

Just call it a score swap. I believe Tampa is turning Al Lang Stadium into a powerhouse to play in like we have with Slugger Field. Expect to see LCFC play back just a bit at the start then as the comfort level moves forward they will attack. The game against Tampa at Slugger was a nail biter even when Lancaster scored a late winner. This game should be no less exciting and an intense affair. I don’t see LCFC coming out with better than a tie. But that’s the glory of my predictions you get to say “What a load of crap Taylor!” Anyway you all know I always hope for a W! (I would prefer an undefeated championship) Make sure you tune into watch the game! WHERE THEY GO WE WILL FOLLOW! ‘CAUSE WE SUPPORT THE CITY!