ST. PETERSBURG — Having already played four matches in less than two weeks' time, the Rowdies have to turn around again on short rest to host Saint Louis FC today.
And they're actually glad about it.
"We're looking forward to going in and setting the record straight," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said.
The Rowdies saw a four-match USL unbeaten streak that put them atop the Eastern Conference table crash out with an uninspiring 1-0 defeat Wednesday at Rochester.
"We came (there) with good intentions. Never got it going in the first half, conceded a goal, huffed and puffed but never did enough to get a point," defender Neill Collins said.
There wasn't even a sniff of a threat Wednesday, producing what Campbell estimated as a lone "clear-cut" chance on goal, from surging Martin Paterson.
Charleston (7-1-2, 23 points) took first place with a Thursday victory while Tampa Bay (6-3-2, 20) sits in second in the standings.
Though the Rowdies hold a five-point cushion over third, all but one of the teams above the eight-place (playoff) spot have games in hand. Rochester, for example, has only played seven games to the Rowdies' 11.
A calmer schedule with two eventual nine-day breaks is ahead.
"We're pretty (ticked) off about the loss but we've moved on. I would play today if I could have. If Saint Louis was here, we'd be ready to go," Alex Morrell said Friday.
He played 56 minutes for Saint Louis last season, on loan from the Chicago Fire.
"I know some of them pretty well. Saint Louis teams are always going to fight hard, play hard … so we gotta come up and just trump that," Morrell said.
They'll be doing it without Damion Lowe, who has been a wonder on defense.
Lowe accumulated his fifth yellow card, enforcing a game suspension. Former Rowdies captain Tam Mkandawire goes in his spot.
Lowe will be available for Wednesday's third-round U.S. Open Cup contest in Miami. Including Cup matches, the Rowdies will have played seven times in 22 days.