ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Miami FC lost 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla on Saturday night. Sebastian Guenzatti had two goals and one assist as the home side struck early in a 3-0 victory.
The Rowdies jumped out of the gate quickly as Leo Fernandes caught Miami’s Richie Ballard in possession 10 yards outside the top-left corner of the penalty area and quickly drove forward to deliver a low cross that Sebastian Guenzatti turned home into the right corner of the net. The goal was Guenzatti’s 20th of the season, making him the ninth player in the Championship’s history to reach that mark in a regular season campaign.
Fernandes had a chance to double the Rowdies’ lead in the 12th minute as a defender missed a sliding challenge just inside the Miami half setting the winger on for a breakaway chance where he into the penalty area but sent his shot just high and wide of the top-left corner. The Brazilian went close again in the 18th minute, but his volleyed finish from near the top of the penalty area went wide of the left upright.
The Rowdies carried their lead into the halftime break as the visitors failed to test Tampa Bay goalkeeper Raiko Arozarena, who was making his debut after regular starter Evan Louro’s streak of 48 consecutive starts for the side across the regular season and playoffs came to an end. Just past the hour-mark the hosts went close to adding to their lead when Juan Tejada fired a shot from 20 yards to the top-left corner that was well saved by Miami’s Connor Sparrow. Off the ensuing corner kick Sparrow had to come up big again as Jordan Doherty’s mishit shot from the top of the penalty area came straight to Guenzatti in space in the right side of the box, but his low shot was turned away by Miami’s goalkeeper.
Guenzatti added his and the Rowdies’ second goal of the night with 19 minutes to go, however, as a good move forward by the hosts came to Conner Antley at the top-right edge of the penalty area where he delivered a curling cross to his captain for a header back across goal from eight yards into the right corner of the net. Guenzatti then played provider for the Rowdies’ third five minutes later as Laurence Wyke escaped into the left side with space to deliver a cross to the back post that the Rowdies’ captain headed centrally for Steevan Dos Santos, who finished into the right side of the net with aplomb to wrap up the night and keep the hosts in position to claim the best record in the Championship.
Miami FC will now look to finish off the season strong, hosting New York Red Bulls II this Sunday at FIU Stadium, and then visiting Charleston Battery on Saturday, October 30 to close out the regular season.