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Rhode Island FC Falls 4-1 at Tampa Bay Rowdies in First Loss of the Season

Rhode Island FC Signee Drafted in First Round of MLS SuperDraft

March 30, 2024 – United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Rhode Island FC News Release

Rhode Island FC's Clay Holstad in action
Rhode Island FC’s Clay Holstad in action
(Rhode Island FC)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Rhode Island FC wrapped up its first road series of the USL Championship season with a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay Rowdies Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. The visitors took a 1-0 lead into halftime, but were unable to find any answers to the Tampa Bay offense in the second half.

Despite suffering its first loss of 2024, RIFC was able to celebrate another goal from Albert Dikwa “Chico”, who scored his team-leading third goal of the season in the first half and extended his goal-scoring streak to two matches.

Rhode Island FC (0W-1L-2D) found its way to an early lead in the sixteenth minute of play. Goalkeeper Jackson Lee saw Chico charging towards the Tampa Bay net and kicked a long pass down the pitch from a goal kick. The home side’s defense tried to stop the attack, but the Cameroonian striker swiftly made his way past the opposition, snuck the ball past the goalkeeper with his head and launched the ball from the right side of the six-yard box into the open net to secure his third goal of the season to give Rhode Island FC the 1-0 lead.

Eight minutes into the second half, the momentum quickly began shifting in favor of Tampa Bay. The change of pace started when Tampa Bay forward Manuel Arteaga capitalized on a pass from Forrest Lasso, who pounced on a Rhode Island FC turnover in the home side’s attacking third. As the ball bounced high above, Arteaga found himself one-on-one with Lee and was first to head the ball over the goalkeeper’s left side and into the back of the net to even the scoreline at 1-1.

Tampa Bay (1W-0L-2D) continued to push for the go-ahead score when forward Cal Jennings reaped the benefits of two Rhode Island FC missed clearances in the sixty-seventh minute of play. After the midfield turnover played to Tampa Bay’s favor, Jennings marched towards goal with a one-on-one opportunity and powered the ball past Lee from just outside the 18-yard box to double the Tampa Bay lead.

Six minutes later, Tampa Bay’s Jordan Doherty gave the home side a two-goal advantage off a free kick from Joshua Pérez. Doherty was first to Pérez’s cross, redirecting a header towards goal amidst a crowded penalty area. The midfielder kept his shot on target from close range, firing past Lee and into the left side of the goal.

Rhode Island FC continued to try to find a response, but the Tampa Bay offense…

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