The Rowdies suffered their first loss of the season, falling to the Charleston Battery 3-0 Saturday night in South Carolina.
Charleston scored two early goals and added a third in the second half.
“When you go back and look, there were major issues with the whole performance,” said Tampa Bay coach Neill Collins, whose club fell to 0-1-2. “We just didn’t do enough to win a game of football, and Charleston did.”
Charleston’s Fidel Barajas started the scoring in the fourth minute. He launched a left-footed strike past the outstretched fingertips of keeper Phil Breno to make it 1-0.
Charleston (1-0-2) made it 2-0 in the 11th minute after Rowdies center back Forrest Lasso was called for a foul on Derek Dodson in the box. Breno got a hand on the ensuing penalty attempt from Augustine Williams, but it wasn’t enough to keep the ball out of the net.
The Rowdies held the edge in possession during the match (60-40) and outshot Charleston (12-8), but they couldn’t produce many meaningful shots. Only two of their 12 shots were on target.
“To be 2-nil down after 12 minutes, you’re probably not full of confidence at that point in time,” said Collins. “It definitely puts you in a tough situation. I actually thought the way we progressed into the game, there were definitely enough opportunities for us to get back into it and to take something out of it.”
Charleston’s third goal came in the 58th minute. A long shot by Nicholas Markanich was deflected by the Rowdies’ Jordan Doherty and got past the already-diving Breno and into the net.
It was just the fourth time the Rowdies have conceded more than two goals in a match since Collins took over in 2018.
“We’re maybe not getting the breaks in games at times,” Collins said, “but equally I’m a big believer in you make your own luck. You make your own luck by doing the fundamentals well and showing the right mentality. That’s how you get your confidence back and have the breaks start to go for you.
“I don’t think we’re doing those things well enough right now.”