by JAKE NUTTING
The Tampa Bay Rowdies have yet to make any roster announcements in the new year, but the club has been working quietly to rebuild the roster and is set to reveal multiple signings in the coming week.
Unused Substitutes has learned that two of the new players in the batch of new faces in camp is a pair of USL Eastern Conference veterans– Bethlehem Steel FC keeper John McCarthy and New York Red Bulls II midfielder Andrew Tinari.
A native of Philadelphia, McCarthy signed with his hometown Philadelphia Union in 2015 following a stellar season with the Rochester Rhinos in which he posted a 0.72 Goals Against Average, earning him the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year and Rookie of the Year honors. McCarthy, 26, appeared in 11 matches for the Union in his first year but saw most of his playing time during the club’s run to the 2015 U.S. Open Cup final that included two victories decided by penalties.
Minutes were hard to come by with Jamaican international Andre Blake established as the Union’s number one keeper, so McCarthy has been splitting time between the MLS side and its USL reserve club Bethlehem Steel FC for the last three seasons. He ended his time with the Steel having recorded 10 clean sheets in 36 appearances.
Union head coach Jim Curtin spoke highly of McCarthy after the club did not re-sign the keeper, even saying he’s worthy of a MLS starting spot.
“John McCarthy is another guy I have a good relationship with that just wanted to be a starter. He’s at a point in his career age wise where he wants to get minutes,” Curtin told Pro Soccer USA. “It was mutual when we spoke, and with Andre being Andre, he wasn’t going to get that here at this time so he decided he’s going to move and pursue another club.”
“(McCarthy) always did great for us, but with his age, he wants an opportunity to be a starter and I can’t blame him for that,” Curtin said. “I think he’s an MLS-caliber starter. I think there’s five or six spots out there that are open that he could push for a starting position in this league.”
McCarthy would be the first keeper announced by the Rowdies this offseason.
Tinari, 23, joined Red Bulls II at the start of the 2017 season after an impressive four-year career at Columbia University. He immediately became a mainstay in New York’s squad during his rookie year, and even became more integral to the club in 2018. The versatile midfielder played both a central attacking midfielder role and a more box-to-box role depending on the week. He outpaced everyone in the USL last year with a league-leading 110 scoring chances created while also leading New York with 84 attempted tackles (winning 50 of those).
Some Red Bulls supporters were hoping to see Tinari get a shot with the MLS side next after such a great start in the USL, but it appears he did not factor into New York’s plans. The Long Island native leaves New York having posted 9 goals and 6 assists in 62 appearances. Tinari would join a Rowdies midfield contingent of Kwadwo Poku, Leo Fernandes, Dominic Oduro, Zach Steinberger and Yann Ekra.
The Rowdies are expected to start training soon ahead of February’s Suncoast Invitational that will bring the Union as well as the Montreal Impact and DC United to Al Lang Stadium. They will kickoff the 2019 USL Championship season at Memphis 901 FC on March 9.
Photo by Greg Carroccio/Philadelphia Union