FC Tampa Bay earned a well-deserved point Saturday afternoon as it played to a 0-0 draw against Montreal at Saputo Stadium.
"Hopefully the players will take some real confidence from this," said head coach Ricky Hill. "As far as momentum and belief for our team, for us to come here and really keep possession well and give them very few opportunities, was very heartening."
"I think because of the conditions and the wind, I implored the guys to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible," said Hill. "I am very pleased that the guys trusted each other and did an excellent job sharing the ball, but I was disappointed that we didn't create more cleaner opportunities up top."
FCTB had a strong first half, controlling possession and creating numerous opportunities. M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake had an early chance for FC Tampa Bay, hitting the left post in the fifth minute.
D JP Rodrigues kept the game scoreless in the 12th minute as he cleared the ball from in front of the net from the ground.
GK Daryl Sattler made several key saves throughout the game, including a stop on Montreal F Idriss Ech Chergui in the 37th minute on a shot from outside the area. Sattler and the FC Tampa Bay defense posted its second shutout in three games thus far in 2011.
"The foundation of any good side is to have a solid defense," said Hill. "Defending is a team game and the entire team played a large part in keeping a clean sheet today. And offensively, we are still working to convert our opportunites more often and frequently."
Forwards Mike Ambersley and Warren Ukah both made their first starts of the 2011 season and created chances, including an opportunity by Ambersley in the 67th minute.
FCTB: Warren Ukah – 16th minute
MON: Idriss Ech Chergui - 48th minute
MON: Amir Lowery – 58th minute
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Daryl Sattler, D Andres Arango, D Omar Jarun, D JP Rodrigues, D Frankie Sanfilippo, M Tony McManus, M Pascal Millien (Mozzi Gyorio 89'), M Takuya Yamada, M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, F Mike Ambersley, F Warren Ukah (Aaron King 78')
Montreal Lineup: GK Bill Gaudette, D Philippe Billy, D Kevin Hatchi, D Nevio Pizzolitto, D Zurab Tsiskaridze, M Leonardo Di Lorenzo (Anthony LeGall 65'), M Luke Kreamalmeyer, M Amir Lowery (Antonio Ribeiro 75'), M David Testo, F Idriss Ech Chergui (Pierre-Rudolph Mayard 75'), F Ali Gerba
FC Tampa Bay: 8 Shots, 4 Saves, 3 Corner Kicks, 15 Fouls
Montreal: 9 Shots, 4 Saves, 6 Corner Kicks, 14 Fouls