Since Neil Collins took over as manager of Tampa Bay in 2018, Tampa Bay has churned out respectable seasons non-stop. They have a solid USL cast of players, a lovely waterfront stadium, a loyal fanbase, and weird little grass slope behind the goal for kids to roll down. Also a tiki bar. What’s not to like?
Tampa aren’t in first right now, but they’re consistently a top-four team in the East, and I expect that by season’s end, they will be again. This is one of those games where Hounds fans should be satisfied with a draw on the road, if that’s what it comes to.
Tactics and Personnel
TBR plays a very attack-minded 3-4-3; lotta usage of the fullbacks. In recent history they’ve been really excellent at getting into Zone 14, the spot at the top of 18-yard box and central which produces a lot of high-quality chances – and goals. It’s really important that the Hounds block those shots, or deny the entry pass or dribble into that lane.
Left back Leo Fernandes is a wonderful player who creates and dictates play from wide. Watch out for him. In 2021 he was third on the team in G+. Along the back line with him, is stalwart defender Aaron Guillen, who has played every minute of the 2022 season so far.
In attack their key man in 2021 was Sebastián Guenzatti. He had 21 goals in 2021 – 16 from the run of play – which works out to 0.76 goals per game. This year so far, he has just 1 goal, and youngster Jake LaCava, a 21-year-old who came over from Red Bull II, has the lions share of goals at 5.
One of their other forwards is Steevan Dos Santos, who we know all about. He’s slowing down, our Duba. At 32 years old this season, he’s only played about half the team’s minutes as younger forwards have passed him by. Time comes for all of us, I guess.
Last Weeks Starting XI
Riverhounds (7-2-1) at Tampa Bay Rowdies (4-3-4)
Date: Saturday, May 21
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Odds: Hounds +260 / Draw +260 / Tampa Bay -120 (FanDuel)
TV: 22 The Point
Live statistics: USL Championship Match Center
Live updates: @RiverhoundsSC on Twitter
Match hashtag: #TBRvPIT