Dos Santos leads Rowdies on hot streak

Tampa Bay looks for 12th win in 14 games
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Posted at 12:41 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 17:52:45-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rowdies are 11-0-2 in their last 13 games. It's their longest unbeaten streak in the modern history of the franchise (start of the 2019 season). Their last loss came on April 30.

"Our performances have sustained very, very well over that period," head coach Neill Collins said after a training session. "I can think of maybe only one half of football against Hartford, away, where we didn’t sustain the performance. The rest of the time, the performance has been good. Generally, if you play well, you give yourself a chance to win."

One of the biggest reasons for the Rowdies' recent success is the play of Steevan Dos Santos. The center forward missed a month with an ankle injury, but he stormed back to score five goals in his last four games.

"Thanks to my teammates, I had some chances to score," Dos Santos said. "I’m happy that I could put some of the chances away and help the team win games. That’s most important for us."

Dos Santos and Collins have an on-field history as well. The two played against each other in 2017 and 2018 when Dos Santos played for Ottawa and Collins played for the Rowdies.

"Sometimes we just talk trash to each other," Dos Santos recalled with a big smile. "But after the game, we would come together and just say 'That’s part of the game,' and we were always cool."

Collins knew Steevan was the type of player he wanted on his team when he became a head coach.

"Me and him in some pretty good battles," Neill added. "I have to say, he caught my eye as a different type of player. One of the players that I played against that certainly made the right impression."

Dos Santos notched his 101st goal as a professional in last weekend's 1-0 win over Detroit City FC. Collins was named USL Championship Coach of the Month for July, leading the Rowdies to five wins in five games.

Tampa Bay (14-3-6, 48 pts) can take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference from Louisville (15-3-4, 49 pts) with a win at Louisville Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 P.M.