ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies look to break out of their four-game winless streak against the team that started it. Rochester, which knocked off Tampa Bay 1-0 on May 24, is in town for a rematch tonight.
Tampa Bay was on a four-match winning streak when Rochester prevailed in a dreary affair that saw a combined three shots on goal, one from the Rowdies.
"It wasn't a classic game by any stretch," Rowdies coach Stuart Campbell said. "Both teams sort of canceled each other out. I don't think we put them under enough pressure, so it's something we want to look to change at home."
Tampa Bay has played four of its past five matches away from Al Lang Stadium, and despite its current lull, it is second in the USL's Eastern Conference with 22 points (6-3-4). Louisville is three points behind but has three games in hand, and fifth-place Rochester (16 points) has played four fewer games.
So today would be a fine time for the Rowdies to start another winning streak. Having gotten nearly a full week's rest helps. Tampa Bay's 2-2 draw at Charlotte on Sunday — Keith Savage's 83rd-minute equalizer offsetting two quick goals allowed early in the second half — was the Rowdies' seventh game in 23 days.
"I think we needed (the rest) a lot," midfielder Michael Nanchoff said. "It's nice to play a string of games, but a long string of games can lead to a lot of exhaustion and fatigue. So it's really nice for us to kind of get recuperated and get a couple of normal, regular training sessions under our belt."
Nanchoff is tied for fifth in the USL with four assists. Tampa Bay's leading goal scorer, Georgi Hristov with six, is out today because of an accumulation of yellow cards.
The Rowdies hope fans tonight enjoy a game more like the one against Charlotte, which had 24 combined shots, than the first meeting with Rochester.
"A result like that kind of ticked (us) off, so we're looking to make up for it," Nanchoff said.
It won't come easy. Rochester has a lone defeat, with four wins and four draws.
"They're going to be hard to break down," Campbell said. "We have to be patient, and when the opportunity is on to attack, we have to do that with decent numbers. We know it's going to be a tough game."