The Pundit Panel (Conference Semifinals): Legion @ Tampa Bay Rowdies

We meet again

No results from last week, of course, although the entire panel was predicting a Legion win. This week is perhaps the toughest challenge of the season so far. How will it go down?

  John Fuller Kaylor Hodges Simon Iles
Prediction Win 2-1 Win 2-1 Win in PKs (2-2 regulation)
  It really pains me to make this prediction, but I don’t see the Three Sparks pulling this one off. Al Lang Stadium is, even over Louisville’s Lynn Family Stadium, probably the hardest location in the Eastern Conference for a visiting team. Mostly because of the Rowdies themselves.

They are tough on defense, especially with Forrest Lasso anchoring the back line. They have a powerful attack in Sebastian Guenzatti and Steevan Dos Santos, who can both score in bunches.

The Legion’s best chance is to hang tight at the back and hope for counterattacking opportunities up the middle. Or maybe play for a PK shootout.

Still, I don’t foresee vengeance for last year’s playoff loss. The score will be closer, though, and the Legion will be in it until the final whistle.

Kaylor wasn’t available to write up his prediction this week, but he did make a forecast on the Hammering Down preview podcast. Like Simon to the right here he was somewhat conflicted, head competing against heart. He did also state that if the Legion were to win, it would be on penalties. Tampa away in the Conference Semifinals. The ultimate heart vs. head. I really wish I could say that Legion are going to win. Can they beat the mighty Rowdies at a rocking Al Lang on any given day? Probably not. But on one day if all the stars align and everything goes right? They absolutely have the talent to do that. Legion has beat Tampa at Tampa before and the comeback from 2-0 down to tie it up 2-2 in last year’s playoffs shows that the Legion squad definitely has it in them.

My head won’t let me pick Legion outright but my heart can’t let me pick against them this time, either. I’m going for a 2-2 tie and Legion to shock the USL by progressing on penalties.

Season to Date 19/64 25/64 21/64

 

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