Juan Guerra has good memories of Neil Collins as a teammate.
“He was crazy,” Guerra said this week. “He was there, but he had a lot of character and passion, and was very much like me. As a defensive midfielder, I didn’t complain about Neil Collins being behind me at centre-back. bottom.
During the 2016 season, the two regularly shared the field as players for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Guerra was a carryover from the previous campaign, making 19 starts as the side’s holding midfielder. Collins, meanwhile, started his 21st game in his first season and moved to the United States, the final destination of his extensive playing career.
Collins went straight to the Rowdies head coach position midway through the 2018 season, and Guerra rose through the ranks to now head Phoenix Rising FC, but the two remained friends and confidantes. .
That friendship came to a halt for the second time on Saturday night when the Rowdies hosted Rising FC at Al Lang Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET | ESPN+), with the two serving as opposing head coaches. increase. Even in Round 1 early last season, Guerra’s Auckland Roots SC side dominated, but his honors came to an end as he failed to find a breakthrough in a 0-0 draw against the Rowdies at Rainey Stadium. rice field.
Still, Guerra knows it would be a mistake to underestimate what the Collins crew will bring this time around, even if the Roadies’ results don’t quite live up to expectations for this campaign so far.
“[Neill is]In my opinion, one of the best coaches in this league,” Guerra said. “And I know a lot of people think Tampa Bay has been struggling this year and not doing a good job. If you’re a team, the week you’re thinking that way, I think it’s time for Tampa to wake up. .”