Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County – USL Championship Final, Sunday, November 28, 2021

By Ben Morris in Soccer
| November 25, 2021 4:21 am PST

The 2021 USL Championship final takes place at Al Lang Stadium this Sunday, November 28, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies welcome Orange County to Florida.

The Rowdies made it all the way to last year’s final before the game was canceled due to the pandemic. Needless to say, they will be desperate to get their hands on the trophy this time around.

On the flip side, Orange County has stunned everyone by reaching the final. Nobody expected Richard Chaplow’s men to get this far, but they are now just one win away from the ultimate prize.

In this Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County betting preview, I discuss the odds for Sunday’s showdown before analyzing the teams. I then share my USL Championship final prediction and pick.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County Odds

Tampa Bay Rowdies to Win1.53
The Draw3.80
Orange County to Win5.00
Tampa Bay Rowdies (-1)2.63

As expected, Tampa Bay is the bookmakers’ out-and-out favorite to lift the trophy on Sunday. There is absolutely no denying that the Rowdies have been the best team in the USL Championship this year.

Still, you can’t write off Orange County altogether. The Californians have upset the odds on multiple occasions to reach the final, so they won’t go down without a fight.

Now that we know what the top soccer betting sites make of Sunday’s clash, let’s take a closer look at both finalists.

Can the Rowdies Finally Get Their Hands on the Trophy?

Neill Collins’ men picked up more points and more wins than any other team during the regular season. They finished 12 points clear atop the Atlantic Division after winning 23 of their 32 matches.

Let’s not forget that Tampa Bay also ended the regular season with the best defensive record in the entire league, having conceded a measly 23 goals.

The Rowdies made light work of FC Tulsa in the conference quarterfinals, crushing the Oklahoma outfit 6-2. They then beat Birmingham Legion 1-0 to book their spot in the conference finals.

Last weekend, Collins’ men found themselves 2-0 down with less than ten minutes to play against Louisville City. Somehow, they managed to turn it around and produce a remarkable comeback.

Lucky Mkosana pulled a goal back on 83 minutes before netting an equalizer in the sixth minute of stoppage time. Steevan Dos Santos then scored the winner in extra time.

It is worth noting that Tampa Bay enjoyed 58% possession and racked up a mammoth 25 shots against LouCity. They may have left it late, but few would argue that they didn’t deserve to win.

Dos Santos now has 12 goals and four assists to his name this year. If Sebastian Guenzatti (22 goals, 6 assists) comes to the party on Sunday, Orange County will find it difficult to tame the Rowdies.

Collins’ men head into the final on a six-game winning streak. In that time, they have scored 16 goals while conceding just five. Pretty impressive, right?

Could Orange County Upset the Odds?

Last year, Orange County finished all the way down in seventeenth place in the overall standings. For that reason, very few people expected them to achieve anything extraordinary in 2021.

But the Californians have exceeded all expectations this season.

After clinching second place in the Pacific Division, OC dispatched Colorado Springs Switchbacks in the conference quarterfinals before overcoming Oakland Roots on penalties.

Believe it or not, Orange County required another penalty shootout to get the better of San Antonio in the conference finals.

Despite seeing 58% of the ball and registering 19 shots, Chaplow’s men drew 1-1 with San Antonio after 120 minutes of action. However, they managed to convert five straight penalties to seal the deal.

OC ended the regular season on a run of five consecutive victories. Yet, the team has participated in not one, but two penalty shootouts to reach the final.

The Californians must be given huge credit for making it this far, but the Rowdies have the ability to humiliate them on Sunday.

If Chaplow’s men are at their best in Florida, they could cause an upset. But having scraped through the previous rounds, a shock result doesn’t look likely.

Prediction for Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County

Not only have the Rowdies won each of their last six games, but they have also lost just one of their previous 20 – picking up a colossal 17 wins in the process.

I expect Orange County to put up a decent fight on Sunday, but I’m confident that Tampa Bay will be far too strong for the visiting team.

At the start of the playoffs, Tampa Bay was favored to lift the trophy at 4.50. By contrast, Orange County was priced at 19.00 to go all the way.

That tells you everything you need to know about the gulf between these two sides.

My Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Orange County Betting Pick

Pick
  • Tampa Bay Rowdies (-1)
    2.63
If you’re looking for a safe bet, then backing Tampa Bay to win at 1.53 is the wager for you. But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, I recommend opting for the handicap victory.

The Rowdies have already scored ten goals across their previous three postseason games. With red-hot forwards like Guenzatti, Dos Santos, and Mkosana in their ranks, they will likely thrash OC.

In my eyes, backing Tampa Bay to win by two clear goals makes a lot of sense.

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