FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nico Castillo, Tampa Bay Rowdies
Guenzatti Hat Trick gives Rowdies 3-0 win over North Carolina
CARY, N.C. (September 1, 2018) — Sebastian Guenzatti became the second player in modern Tampa Bay Rowdies history to notch a hat trick, scoring all three goals in the Rowdies’ 3-0 win over North Carolina FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Guenzatti scored in the 23rd, 43rd and 56th minutes to complete his hat trick and join Georgi Hristov in the Rowdies record books.
His first-half brace saw Guenzatti become the 16th player in the Modern Era to score twice in a game, but only Hristov had ever finished the hat trick before Saturday night.
“We’ve been working really hard during the week and tonight I think we showed that we’re a tough team to play against,” Guenzatti said. “Everybody was running for each other and pushing each other on. I think that was the main thing today. We were all on the same page.”
North Carolina (9-10-7, 34 points) started as the aggressor, but once Guenzatti netted his first of the night, the Rowdies (8-11-7, 31 points) never looked back.
The go-ahead goal came in the 23rd minute when Rowdies forward Junior Flemmings spotted Guenzatti fed the ball to him. Guenzatti chipped it over advancing North Carolina goalkeeper Alex Tambakis for the opening goal.
Flemmings and Guenzatti combined for the second time 20 minutes later when the Jamaican spotted his Uruguayan teammate with another cross. Guenzatti finished it first-time from seven yards out to double the Rowdies’ advantage just before halftime.
Flemmings is now the Rowdies’ assist leader this season with five, moving past Marcel Schäfer’s four.
Guenzatti picked up right where he left off in the second half with another simple finish on a pass from Leo Fernandes to finish the hat trick. Tampa Bay’s only previous hat trick was Hristov’s in a 4-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on September 24, 2016.
“Its my first hat trick as a pro,” Guenzatti said. “It means a lot to me. As soon as the game finished, I went after the ball. No one was going to get that one apart from me. I’m going to keep that one.”
The win was the Rowdies’ third on the road this season, but was well-deserved after the Rowdies put in great performances against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the last two matches without getting a victory.
“I felt that we weathered an early storm and we put into action what we worked on all week,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “Credit to our strikers for taking their opportunities, but equally, the way the team defended was what you ask for. I thought our lads put into action the game plan and tonight we got a reward for it when there have been many nights where we haven’t.”
Up next, the Rowdies face another tricky road trip to face the Charleston Battery next weekend before returning home to host Atlanta United 2 on Saturday, September 15.
Rowdies: Sebastian Guenzatti - 23rd minute (assisted by Junior Flemmings)
Rowdies: Sebastian Guenzatti - 43rd minute (assisted by Junior Flemmings)
Rowdies: Sebastian Guenzatti - 56th minute (assisted by Leo Fernandes)
Rowdies: Dominic Oduro - 48th minute
North Carolina: Aaron Guillen - 61st minute
North Carolina: Marios Lomis - 76th minute
North Carolina: Connor Tobin - 81st minute
North Carolina: Austin da Luz - 92nd minute
Rowdies XI (3-5-2): GK Daniel Vega; D Hunter Gorskie, Tarek Morad, Zac Portillos; M Afrim Taku, Kwadwo Poku (Max Lachowecki 83'), Dom Oduro, Joe Cole (c) (Martin Vingaard 74'), Leo Fernandes; F Junior Flemmings, Sebastian Guenzatti (Georgi Hristov 89')
NCFC (4-5-1): GK Alex Tambakis; D Aaron Guillen, Wuilito Fernandes (Marios Lomis 68'), Connor Tobin (c), DJ Taylor; M Steven Miller, Austin da Luz, Zach Steinberger, Graham Smith, Kyle Bekker (Tiyi Shipalane 68'); F Daniel Rios