FC Tampa Bay routed Atlanta 4-0 Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on the strength of two goals from midfielder Keith Savage.
The 4-0 win marked the largest margin of victory in team history and gave the club its fifth shutout of the year, most in a single season. Goalkeeper Evan Newton became the third FCTB netminder to post a shutout this season, joining Jeff Attinella and Daryl Sattler, who both have two shutouts in 2011.
"I am very delighted with tonight's performance," said head coach Ricky Hill. "We were very strong defensively and withstood some early pressure, and the offense did a great job finishing our chances. It was a complete 90 minutes."
FC Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead into intermission on first-half goals by Savage and forward Mike Ambersley.
Savage's goal came in the 28th minute off a free kick from midfielder Mozzi Gyorio. It was Savage's first goal of the season and Ambersley was credited with the assist.
Ambersley scored his team-best ninth goal of the year in the 33rd minute. Pascal Millien passed to forward Aaron King, who gave Ambersley a perfect feed for the goal and a 2-0 advantage. It marked King's third assist in 2011.
Savage scored his second of the game in the 60th minute for a 3-0 lead for FC Tampa Bay, with Ambersley getting his second assist of the night and fourth of the year.
"Keith has great qualities in practice and is a very good striker of the ball," said Hill. "He is growing more comfortable and has done a great job developing his forward play. Tonight was a great reward for his efforts."
Forward Matt Clare closed the scoring with his first of the year in the 82nd minute.
"The focus of our players has been tremendous," said Hill. "After the loss in Atlanta last month, we bounced back with the win against FC Edmonton. The guys are really hungry and are determined to not concede goals. I am impressed with the attitude of the entire team, and all of the members of the squad played a part tonight."
Newton started in goal for FC Tampa Bay, his first appearance in an NASL match for the club. Newton played the second half of FC Tampa Bay's victory over the English Premier League's Bolton Wanderers in a friendly last month and combined with Jeff Attinella for the 1-0 shutout.
"We made a decision today to give Evan an opportunity tonight," said Hill. "Jeff (Attinella) has been a little sore and it seemed the right time to bring Evan in. He has worked hard in training and did an excellent job tonight when called upon. We are fortunate to have three outstanding goalies."
FC Tampa Bay wraps up its two-match road trip this Wednesday, August 10 when it faces Montreal at 7:30 p.m. at Saputo Stadium. FC Tampa Bay next plays at home on Saturday, August 13 at 7:00 p.m. against NSC Minnesota. To purchase tickets, click here.
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Evan Newton, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D JP Rodrigues, D Takuya Yamada, M Keith Savage, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Pascal Millien, M Shane Hill (Tsuyoshi Yoshitake 79'), F Mike Ambersley (Matt Clare 75')), F Aaron King (Warren Ukah 75')
Atlanta Lineup: GK Jimmy Maurer, D Mattias Schnorf, D Willie Hunt, D Tyler Ruthven, D Josh Casarona (Jose Parada 64'), M Jordan Davis (Jon Cox 68'), M Lucas Paulini - Captain (Moussa Toure 75'), M Raphael Cox, M Ciaran O'Brien, F Junior Sandoval, F Matt Horth
FCTB: Keith Savage - 28th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
FCTB: Mike Ambersley - 33rd minute (assisted by Aaron King)
FCTB: Keith Savage - 60th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
FCTB: Matt Clare - 82nd minute
ATL: Tyler Ruthven - 61st minute
ATL: Jon Cox - 71st minute
FCTB: 15 shots, 4 saves, 4 fouls, 4 corners
ATL: 7 shots, 3 saves, 11 fouls, 3 corners