Midfielder Mozzi Gyorio buried a free kick in the 90th minute to rally FC Tampa Bay to a 3-3 draw against Montreal Wednesday night at Saputo Stadium. Gyorio's goal capped a furious comeback that saw FCTB come back from a 3-1 deficit with less than six minutes remaining in the match.
"Once they went up 3-1, we knew we had to dig deep and stick together," said Gyorio. "It gave us a little bit of hope when we scored the second goal, and then we were able to tie the game. It was a crucial point for us and I think it showed a lot of character."
With the tie and NSC Minnesota's 1-0 loss at home to Ft. Lauderdale, FC Tampa Bay moved into a tie for third place in the NASL standings with the Stars. FC Tampa Bay and NSC Minnesota meet this Saturday, August 13 at Al Lang Stadium.
"We knew that Montreal would come out with some purpose in the second half, and they scored the quick goal and then took advantage of some poor defending by us," said head coach Ricky Hill. "After we went down 3-1, we changed formations and the players that came off the bench really came onto the field with a purpose and played their part. It was fantastic; to come back from 3-1 down is a great achievement."
FC Tampa Bay midfielder Shane Hill gave FCTB a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute as he deposited the ball into the back of the net for his second goal of the year. It gave FC Tampa Bay at least one goal in the first half in seven consecutive games.
FC Tampa Bay took the 1-0 lead into halftime, but Montreal quickly tied the match in the 46th minute. Forward Eduardo Sebrango scored his fifth of the year on an assist from second half substitute Ali Gerba. Moments later, Montreal took its first lead of the match when midfielder Ian Westlake scored in the 54th minute, his third of the season, on Gerba's second assist of the game.
Sebrango notched his second of the game in the 75th minute, giving the Impact a 3-1 advantage. Gerba earned his third assist of the match on the goal as the Impact appeared to be in control.
FC Tampa Bay forward Aaron King gave the team some life when he notched his sixth goal in the last seven games on an assist from defender Frankie Sanfilippo in the 85th minute to cut the deficit to 3-2.
"It was a team goal by Aaron," said Hill. "We managed to move through the midfield and into the wide position, better than we had done previously in the game. Frankie had an inviting cross into the box. And Aaron King has been great in terms of his goal-scoring prowess and his efforts. That gaves us the belief that we could get something out of the game."
Moments later, Gyorio stunned the Impact with his 90th minute strike to earn the point.
"It was a fantastic free kick and wonderful execution by Mozzi," said Hill. "In previous games, he has been unfortunate at times in hitting the crossbar. He does practice for these moments. It was not an easy shot by any means and it was great for him to step up at that time when the team needed him."
"I have been working on it a lot after practice," said Gyorio. "There are a few of us that stay after training and work on free kicks and corners, and it paid off tonight. I knew I had to hit it hard because he is a big keeper. So I just hit it hard with the dip and it went right where I wanted it to go."
FC Tampa Bay returns to Al Lang Stadium for a two-game homestand against the NSC Minnesota Stars on Saturday, August 13 and Puerto Rico on Saturday, August 20. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET for both matches. To purchase tickets, click here.
FCTB: Shane Hill - 38th minute
MTL: Eduardo Sebrango - 46th minute (assisted by Ali Gerba)
MTL: Ian Westlake - 54th minute (assisted by Ali Gerba)
MTL: Eduardo Sebrango - 75th minute (assisted by Ali Gerba)
FCTB: Aaron King - 85th minute (assisted by Frankie Sanfilippo)
FCTB: Mozzi Gyorio - 90th minute
FCTB: Keith Savage - 15th minute
MTL: Greg Sutton - 16th minute
MTL: Anthony LeGall - 88th minute
FC Tampa Bay: GK Evan Newton, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Shane Hill, M Pascal Millien (Warren Ukah 72'), M Keith Savage (Tsuyoshi Yoshitake 83'), F Mike Ambersley, F Aaron King
Montreal: GK Greg Sutton, D Simon Gatti, D Nevio Pizzolitto (Captain), D Hicham Aaboubou, D Philippe Billy, M Hassoun Camara, M Amir Lowery (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 45'), M Ian Westlake, F Mignane Diouf (Ali Gerba 45'), F Eduardo Sebrango, F Ryan Pore (Anthony LeGall 68')
FCTB: 11 shots, 8 saves, 9 fouls, 3 corners
MTL: 16 shots, 3 saves, 13 fouls, 3 corners