CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Rowdies took a quick lead against Charleston but couldn’t hold it, falling 2-1 Saturday night.
With a playoff spot already clinched, Tampa Bay (16-6-6) also couldn’t take advantage of the chance to climb ahead of Memphis and into second place in the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference.
With 54 points, the Rowdies stayed one point behind Memphis, and with first-place Louisville City tying Pittsburgh, they fell six points back of the leader.
The Rowdies opened the scoring in the third minute. They drove the ball down the right flank, and William Antley found Sebastian Guenzatti with a cross into the box. Guenzatti redirected the ball into the net with a header.
Guenzatti is now one goal away from breaking the Rowdies all-time scoring record of 60 goals held by Georgi Hristov.
The Battery — who were recently eliminated from playoff contention despite dropping only one match in their previous five — tied the score in the 21st minute when Andrew Booth sent a hard shot past goalkeeper CJ Cochran.
Charleston broke the deadlock in the 67th minute when Booth got his second goal of the night. Aidan Apodaca, who had entered the match as a substitute a minute earlier, send a pass to Booth through Tampa Bay’s defense. Booth then shot the ball right past Cochran and into the net.
In their previous seven matches, the Rowdies had one shutout and had allowed just one goal in each of the other six. Cochran entered the day with a 0.83 goals-against average, which was the second lowest of any goalkeeper in the league who had played more than 11 matches.
“I think on the (Rowdies) goal, we got caught pressing in a way that wasn’t really suited to the way Tampa Bay were playing,” Booth said. “After that, we were able to solve problems on the field.
“After the first 10 minutes, we were able to figure (the Rowdies) out, and from there, I think we dominated the rest of the game.”