Memphis 901 FC surge ahead late in dramatic win over Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Tampa Bay Rowdies were on their way to winning their fifth straight game as they held onto a narrow 2-1 lead on the road against Memphis 901 FC. They were composed as they continuously dropped all 11 players back awaiting another attack.
Hitting the bright yellow brick wall of the Rowdie defense repeatedly, Memphis was running out of time and ideas. The solution would come in the form of three substitutions, combining to flip momentum in an instant.
Nighte Pickering, Rashawn Dally and Samuel Careaga made up the trio that put Tampa on the back foot with less than 10 minutes to go. Careaga, acquired from top-flight Argentinian club Atlético Lanús earlier this week on loan, took his first touches with a purpose. He was able to push the ball up-field and penetrate down the middle, providing Memphis with much needed breathing room.
“He showed everything that we expected,” Stephen Glass said of Careaga. “He’s an all around midfield player. He can get forward, he can shoot, he can combine with other midfielders; and I think he looked like he fit in the group tonight and I’m sure he enjoyed it.”
The equalizer came in the 88th minute with an unmarked Jeremy Kelly heading the ball into the back of the net. The assist was awarded to Dally with a pinpoint cross towards the back post.
A period of chaos followed with the Rowdies trying to cling onto the draw. Stuart Dobson, interim head coach for the match, received two yellow cards back-to-back for dissent in extra time. Pickering would draw a foul inside the penalty box as Dobson walked towards the locker rooms, giving Aaron Molly an opportunity to score the winner in front of the 2,264 announced fans in attendance.
The goal would eventually be credited to Forrest Lasso of the Rowdies’ defense as it bounced off his body before fumbling across the goal line.
“I think we fully deserved the three points, but obviously had to dig pretty deep to get them,” Glass said.
Statistically, the two teams were stark contrasts of one another for the full 90 minutes. Tampa Bay was extremely clinical, scoring two goals from four total shots, passing the ball in the opposition’s half only 63 times. They relied on similar goalkeeper over-the-top passes to give their attackers a chance on-goal where they did not disappoint. Charlie Dennis had the first finish while Cal Jennings, who played for Memphis 901 in 2020, used his speed for the second after being subbed on after halftime.
Memphis, on the other hand, held 67% of the possession as they passed the ball over 600 times, taking 17 total shots in the process. There were a few missed chances in the first half but Rodrigo da Costa was able to get his 10th goal of the season, courtesy of a cross from Luiz Fernando.
Memphis will play the second of their three game home stand on Saturday, September 9 at 7:00pm.
Photo Credit: D’Angelo Connell Photography
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