Date: Saturday June 8, 2024

Kickoff Time: 10:00 pm EST at CSUEB Pioneer Stadium in Hayward, CA

Records: Tampa Bay Rowdies (22 pts 6W-4D-2L); Oakland Roots (14 pts 4W-2D-7L)

Standings: The Rowdies are 4th in the East and Oakland are 9th in the West 

In a battle of top USL Championship sides, the Rowdies came out with a total team effort, suffocating the Republic but also continuing to build an identity as a team that will rack up shots on the opposing goalkeeper. Can the Rowdies continue their winning ways, or will a rollercoaster-like Oakland side prove to be a trap?

How Did Tampa Bay End The Streak?
As it goes with most 1-0 results, all the little things have to go right. The “biggest” little thing was the Rowdies’ ability to close off the midfield. Josh Perez & Lewis Hilton were pests to their marks, & Tampa Bay had a fluidity to their formation that allowed Charlie Dennis to either stay high on a press (as he was a forward in this game) or fall back into his natural midfielder position to clog up the lanes.

The Rowdies’ ability to utilize players who are comfortable playing many positions means that they are able to adapt to the opponents’ formations and tactical plans, with even backline players such as Jordan Doherty or Eddie Munjoma being comfortable marking in the midfield when needed on transitions.

This adaptability frustrated Sacramento, limiting them to just six shots, with only three on target. In contrast, the Rowdies unleashed a barrage of 20 shots, ten of which were on target, demonstrating their offensive prowess. Their expected goals (xG) statistic of 2.08, nearly double what Sacramento typically allows at home, highlights their offensive efficiency.

Dennis earned a spot in the USL Team of the Week with an impressive performance up front. His passing accuracy stood at 83%, and he made his mark by scoring one of his two shots and creating four chances for his teammates. Dennis’s role as a forward added a new dimension to the Rowdies’ attack.

Goalkeeper Jordan Farr also was worthy of some ink as his contributions extended beyond a clean sheet. His quick thinking and precise long pass to Charlie Dennis not only secured an assist but also demonstrated his vision and distribution skills, catching Sacramento off-guard and leading to the decisive goal.

Can The Rowdies Leave The West Coast With A Win?
This week on the RBLR Rowdies podcast, Jonathan Comeaux of RootsBlog shed light on the tumultuous season of the Oakland Roots. Initially struggling to find an identity under Head Coach Noah Delgado, the team made a decisive change on April 28th, appointing Assistant Coach Gavin Glinton as Interim Head Coach. Since then, they’ve shown flashes of brilliance, securing two wins in their last three games against playoff contenders like Orange County and struggling sides like Tulsa.

Roots Players To Watch?

Johnny Rodriguez
: Leading the team in scoring last year, the 25-year-old has faced a challenging season due to injuries. With three goals so far, he remains a key player for the Roots. If he’s fit and ready, his ability to find the back of the net could be crucial against the Rowdies.

Miche-Naider Chery: The Haitian-born player is making strides in his professional career. Known for his height and physicality, Chery is a potent aerial threat off the bench. Watch for his impact during set pieces and late-game situations.

Dom Dwyer: This is more of a watch-this-space as the former US Men’s National Team player (and former USF Bull) hasn’t played a minute since being signed over a month ago but has been getting conditioning. He’s due anytime now.

With the Rowdies’ tactical adaptability and the Roots’ recent resurgence under interim leadership, this match promises to be a thrilling encounter. Can the Rowdies continue their dominant run, or will Oakland’s unpredictability pose a significant challenge? Fans won’t want to miss this showdown on the West Coast.

Score Predictions from the RBLR Rowdies Podcast:

Carlos: 1-0 W

Liz: 2-0 W

James: 1-1 D

Yurika: 2-1 W