The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated the Charleston Battery 0-5 at MUSC Health Stadium Saturday night. The loss snaps the Battery's ten-game unbeaten run at home and is the highest margin of defeat for the Battery this season.
The Eastern Conference leaders wasted no time in bouncing back from a 2-0 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls II last weekend, opening the scoring 33 seconds into the match. Lucky Mkosana, who started the year with Louisville City FC, scored his 6th of the season to put the Rowdies up 0-1. Zach Steinberger won a 50/50 ball against Taylor Mueller in midfield, breaking free for the Rowdies first attack of the match. Steinberger found space down the right side of the Battery penalty area and found Mkosana making a late run into the box and the forward finished cooly.
Mkosana bagged his second of the night three minutes later following a failed clearance from midfielder, Kotaro Higashi. Higashi's attempted clearance was blocked by Malik Johnson and the deflection found the feet of Mkosana who was alert at the back post to tap in the Rowdies second of the night. Johnson would later score Tampa's third goal of the first half, whipping in a corner that was mishandled by Joe Kuzminsky. Things would get even worse for the Battery in the 42nd minute after Ataulla Guerra picked up his second yellow card of the match and was sent off after a foul on Tarek Morad.
Steinberger hit Charleston for a fourth goal minutes after the start of the second half and substitute Jaime Siaj netted the Rowdies fifth in the 82nd minute. "It's just one of those nights," said coach Anhaeuser after the match. "Everything starts to get in your head and it starts to fluster you. I think we did some really nice things with our possession and our movement but it's never going to show because of the final result."
One of those positives was the return of Jay Bolt, who came on as a substitute at halftime, relieving Kotaro Higashi for the final 45 minutes. "It felt good to be back," said Bolt. "Every minute is important when you are coming back and recovering from an injury. I'm working on getting back to 90 minutes fit and that started tonight."