ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It's tough for a team with 12 new faces to build chemistry. It's even tougher when you've only had the chance to play one regular-season game. That's the challenge for the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
"One of the greatest things about this game is the banter. We love to joke around. We love to give each other a hard time," defender Forrest Lasso said, via video chat. "I think that camaraderie, that banter, you can’t get unless you’re in person."
The Rowdies played just one game before the COVID-19 shutdown, a 1-0 win at New York. Tomorrow, Tampa Bay hosts Atlanta United 2.
Head coach Neil Collins said building his team won't happen overnight.
"It’s going to take time. Relationships need to build. I need to find out what the best 11 is," Collins said. "You don’t find that out on the training field. You find that out when you play multiple games."
Collins joked with the team about people having enough of binge-watching their favorite TV shows because they already know how they're going to end. There is no script for live sports.
"You never know how it may end," Collins said. "There are so many great stories. There are so many tragedies as well. You know, your team loses at the last minute, winning at the last minute. I think we’ve all missed that."
Lasso definitely misses it.
"We want to see live-action," he said. "I think as athletes and soccer players we have a unique opportunity of giving people that joy they’ve been missing for a couple of weeks now."
Fox Sports Sun will air the game Saturday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. Around 100 invited guests will be allowed to attend, and team officials will have safety protocols in place.