ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Lucky Mkosana might just be the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ super substitute.
“First and foremost, Lucky is a really good player whether he starts or comes off the bench he is a really good player,” Rowdies head coach Neill Collins said.
No one on the team was surprised with Mkosana broke into his goal dance after a dominant late-game performance in their 6-2 win in their playoff opener against FC Tulsa last week.
“You see it whenever we do score you see him dancing,” Rowdies midfielder Leo Fernandes said. “We all get super-excited. The fans love him. He brings so much to the table. When he comes on the field we are just so excited. More goals are coming when he is on the field.”
Mkosana entered the game in the 89th minute. He scored a goal and notched a pair of assists.
The Zimbabwean footballer has made 78 appearances for the Rowdies. He originally played for the team in 2013 and 2014. He returned via trade midway through 2019.
In those contests, he’s scored 16 goals, seven of those as a substitute along with three assists.
“I feel like every time I play I try to enjoy the moment and try to get the most out of my time and be productive as much as I can,” Mkosana told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger.
Mkosana may not always see regular playing time, but he trusts the vision of the coaching staff and makes the most of his minutes.
“Obviously everyone wants to start,” he said. “I want to start. I’m taking that role. I’m coming in and respecting the coaches' decisions. I’m going to do my job.”
“The depth we have on the squad are some fantastic attacking options,” Collins said. “It’s very unique to have someone as skillful as him coming on and impacting a game. He scores goals. That’s what he wants to do. How they come about, I don’t think bothers Lucky too much.”
It doesn’t bother Mkosana that the Rowdies are two wins away from dancing to another USL Championship Final.
“We are starting to feel it,” Mkosana said. “For us, it’s making sure we take our chances early. We know it’s a different ball game now.”
The Rowdies will play Birmingham Legion FC in the Eastern Conference semifinal Saturday at 7 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium.