Jacksonville Sports Day

USL: Guenzatti Fires Tampa Bay Rowdies Past Atlanta 1-0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies survived a nervous finish Saturday night to pick up a 1-0 win over Atlanta United 2 at Al Lang Stadium after Sebastian Guenzatti’s first-half strike.

Guenzatti took a feed from Kwadwo Poku in the 30th minute and put a clinical finish past Atlanta goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt for what stood as the game-winner. It was Guenzatti’s fourth goal of September.

“It was a very good team performance,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “I thought some of our play was excellent. Seba’s goal was something he’s done in training. It was a great finish. We’ve made improvements.”

Tampa Bay started the match on the front foot and dominated the proceedings for the first 15 minutes or so before Atlanta started to find its footing and raise its level.

After enduring 10 minutes of pressure, Tampa Bay got back into gear setting up Guenzatti for a tap-in from six yards out only to see the Uruguayan poke his first-touch over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, Guenzatti more than made up for that miss, spinning and firing a low shot from 16 yards out that snuck just inside the far post to put the Rowdies up 1-0.

“(Poku) played me into the box and my first touch was good enough to leave me with a wide open shot for the far post. It was a really good win for us. We really needed it to move forward and hopefully we’ll keep it up until the end of the season.”

Tampa Bay controlled the remainder of the first half and the opening of the second half but couldn’t quite connect for an insurance goal. The Rowdies mustered 14 shots (four on target) and racked up nine corner kicks.

Atlanta came back to life as the match progressed past the hour mark with the Rowdies absorbing pressure and trying to spring a counter attack. Tampa Bay pressed higher and higher as the second half progressed, trying to create turnovers.

While the visitors only mustered one shot on target all night, forcing Tampa Bay goalkeeper Daniel Vega to make a simple save in the 73rd minute, it was a nervous final 20 minutes for the Rowdies.

Tampa Bay must move on quickly to prepare for a match against Nashville SC on Tuesday night in Tennessee before returning home to host the Richmond Kickers on Saturday, September 22.

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