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Tampa Bay Rowdies to Host Orange County SC in 2021 USL Championship Final

By Staff, 11/21/21, 11:00AM EST


Rowdies rally in extra time thriller, OCSC wins penalty shootout to claim Eastern, Western Conference Titles

TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rowdies will play host to Orange County SC in the 2021 USL Championship Final at Al Lang Stadium after the two sides claimed their respective conference titles in a thrilling pair of games that went to extra time before sellout crowds on Saturday night. The Championship Final is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET, airing live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and SiriusXM FC.

The Rowdies retained their Eastern Conference title in remarkable fashion with a 3-2 victory after extra time against Louisville City FC before a crowd of 7,210 at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies rallied from a two-goal deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining as second-half substitute Lucky Mkosana scored twice – including the equalizer in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time – before Steevan Dos Santos notched the game winner in the 102nd minute for his second goal of the postseason (Full Report | Box Score).

Orange County advanced via penalty shootout for a second consecutive week, this time against San Antonio FC before a crowd of 5,386 at Championship Soccer Stadium. Sean Okoli converted to open the fifth round to seal the win after SAFC’s Justin Dhillon had sent his effort off target to close the fourth round. In regulation, OCSC’s Ronaldo Damus had given the hosts the lead before San Antonio’s Marcus Epps equalized in the second half. Orange County maintained a perfect record in penalty shootouts in the USL Championship Playoffs at 3-0-0 in club history (Full Report | Box Score).

Now a two-time Eastern Conference title-winner, the Rowdies will try to claim their first USL Championship title and the club’s first league title since 2012. The Rowdies earned home field advantage for the Final by virtue of posting a league-best record of 23-7-2, with forward Sebastián Guenzatti (21 goals, 6 assists) leading the attack and two-time USL Championship Defender of the Year Forrest Lasso anchoring the club’s league-record shutout streak of 891 minutes.

Western Conference winners Orange County will compete in the Championship Final for the first time in its 11-season history after earning the Pacific Division’s second seed, going 15-10-7 in the regular season. Damus, a regular for Haiti’s national team, scored 16 goals this season, including two in these playoffs. Former U.S. Men’s National Team defender and OCSC captain Michael Orozco has been a stalwart for his hometown club all year.

The action will be brought to a nationwide audience on ESPN and SiriusXM FC by play-by-play host Mike Watts, analyst Devon Kerr, and the Chicago Red Stars’ Sarah Gorden as sideline analyst and reporter. ESPN Deportes’ broadcast will be led by play-by-play host Jesús Eduardo Acosta and analyst José Armando Rodríguez.

2021 USL Championship Final

(All times Eastern; home team listed first) 

Sunday, Nov. 28
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County SC, 8:30 p.m. ET, Al Lang Stadium (ESPN, ESPN Deportes, SiriusXM FC)

2021 USL Championship Playoffs, presented by TwinSpires

(All times Eastern; home team listed first) 

Eastern Conference Final 
Saturday, Nov. 20

Tampa Bay Rowdies 3, Louisville City FC 2 AET

Western Conference Final
Saturday, Nov. 20

Orange County SC 1, San Antonio FC 1 AET
Orange County wins 5-3 in a penalty shootout

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