Rowdies head to Louisville with first place on the line
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As far as weekends go, this one has been circled on the Tampa Bay Rowdies calendar for a while.
"This is always a game you look forward to, there's no question about that," said Rowdies Manager Neill Collins.
On Saturday, the Rowdies face off against a team they know very well in Louisville FC.
A win gives the Bay Area sole possession of first place in the USL's Eastern Conference.
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"The past three years we've faced them in our biggest moments," stated Collins. "In 2019 they knocked us out of the playoffs. The past two years we've done the same to them."
Tampa Bay Rowdies players practice in St. Petersburg.
Not only is this a massive weekend for the Rowdies, but it’s been a massive few months for the team after the Rowdies have rattled off 13 straight games without a loss.
"I like to look at it as a lucky 13," said forward Jake LaCava. "Hopefully, it won't be 13 for long. Hopefully, it will be 14 after this weekend."
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After all that success though, you wouldn't blame the Rowdies for getting a little superstitious, right?
"I feel like I have a tough enough job as it is without worrying about superstitions," said Collins. "I did as a player but as a coach, I learned pretty quickly it's the work you do Monday through Friday."
Players with the Tampa Bay Rowdies meet during practice in St. Petersburg.
So if it’s not superstition, then what?
"You have to be paranoid," stated center-back Jordan Scarlett.
"Complacency sets in when you wake up on Sunday morning with three points in the bag and a clean sheet. But that's where you can slip and forget the details."
Whether it’s paranoia, superstition, or something else, whatever it is, it’s working for the Rowdies.