Tampa, Fla – The Tampa Bay Rowdies were victors in their first preseason contest of 2024, coming away with a 4-1 win over MLS Next Pro side Philadelphia Union II on Friday afternoon at the club’s training facility.
Tampa Bay fielded two different lineups for each 45-minute half of the match, with a handful of preseason trialists getting minutes with several Rowdies players.
Rowdies newcomer Manuel Arteaga started in the first half and opened the scoring for his new club in the 15th minute as he drew and then converted a penalty. Philadelphia answered with a free kick strike from to level the match but it was the last tally for the visitors.
The Rowdies took hold in the second half, led by the trio of Josh Perez, Blake Bodily, and Cal Jennings up top. In the 55th minute, Perez put the Rowdies back on top with a header at the far post off of a deft cross from Bodily. A preseason trialist nabbed the third goal of the match with a long-range effort that took a friendly deflection on its way into Philadelphia’s net in the 57th minute. Last year’s leading scorer closed out the match with a one-timed finish in front of goal in the 75th minute, with Bodily offering the assist again.
“It’s nice to be playing another team,” said Bodily, who joined the Rowdies after spending last year with San Diego Loyal. “It brings a little bit more intensity and it feels a little bit more like a game. It was nice to get my first 45 minutes under my belt and I felt we performed really well as a team. We’ll just continue to progress more and more as the weeks go on. The guys have been super welcoming, so that’d helped me transition into the team. I’m starting to understand their movements a little better. I think our connection will only progress from this point. Getting two assists in the preseason game is great and hopefully there’s more to come.”
The Rowdies next preseason matchup is against Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United on Saturday, February 10 at Al Lang Stadium. Kickoff for the closed-doors match is set for 3 pm ET. The match will be streamed online. Stay tuned for details on how to watch.
TBR – Arteaga (Penalty), 15â²
PHI – 28â²
TBR – Perez (Bodily), 55â²
TBR – Trialist, 57â²
TBR – Jennings (Bodily), 75â²
Rowdies First Half XI
Farr, Lasso, Guillen, Hilton, Arteaga, Six Trialists
Rowdies Second Half XI
Breno, Doherty, Kleemann, Perez, Bodily,…