The Carolina RailHawks knocked off FC Tampa Bay 2-0 Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, setting a club record with their 17th victory of the season. Despite the loss, FC Tampa Bay remains in third place in the league standings with 34 points.
The teams played most of the second half with 10 men each after Carolina forward Etienne Barbara and FC Tampa Bay defender Andres Arango were both sent off in the 50th minute.
RailHawks forward Pablo Campos gave Carolina a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute when he headed in a corner kick from defender Kupono Low for his 10th goal of the year. It marked Low's first assist this season.
"I was disappointed in the manner in which we conceded their first goal," said head coach Ricky Hill. "We failed to fulfill our assignments on the play and that changed the dynamics of the game at that point."
Campos scored his second of the game and 11th of the year when he converted a perfect pass from midfielder Brian Farber in the 38th minute for a 2-0 Railhawks advantage.
FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made five saves in the second half, including several big stops on Campos, to keep his team in the game.
"I felt like we competed well in the second half, but it wasn't to be tonight," said Hill. "Jeff stood tall and made several big saves, especially in the second half," said Hill.
FC Tampa Bay was missing three starters for the match, as leading goal scorer Mike Ambersley sat out after receiving his fifth yellow card in last Saturday's match at Ft. Lauderdale. Ambersley had been the lone player on the team to appear in each of the first 23 matches this season. FCTB was also without the services of injured midfielder Pascal Millien and injured defender JP Rodrigues.
FC Tampa Bay continues its four-match road trip this Tuesday, September 6 when it meets NSC Minnesota at 8:30 p.m. ET at NSC Stadium.
"Every game is critical with only four games left," said Hill. "Our whole focus is now on Tuesday night against a very good Minnesota team that is pushing hard for a playoff spot, as we are as well."
With a victory on Tuesday, FC Tampa Bay can clinch a spot in the 2011 NASL playoffs.
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D Takuya Yamada, D Kwame Watson-Siriboe, M Keith Savage, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Jeremy Christie 72'), M Chad Burt (Kerry Baptiste 72'), F Warren Ukah, F Aaron King
Carolina RailHawks Lineup: GK Brad Knighton, D Floyd Franks, D Kupono Low - Captain, D Gareth Evans, D Tyler Lassiter, M Tony McManus, M Matt Watson, M Nick Zimmerman (Stephen Glass 81'), M Brian Farber (Cory Elenio 69'), F Pablo Campos (Allan Russell 74'), F Etienne Barbara
CAR: Pablo Campos - 19th minute (assisted by Kupono Low)
CAR: Pablo Campos - 38th minute (assisted by Brian Farber)
FCTB: Shane Hill - 46th minute
FCTB: Andres Arango - 49th minute
CAR: Floyd Franks - 65th minute
FCTB: Kerry Baptiste - 88th minute
CAR: Etienne Barbara - 50th minute
FCTB: Andres Arango - 50th minute
FCTB: 7 shots (2 on goal), 6 saves, 15 fouls, 1 offsides, 3 corners
CAR: 20 shots (8 on goal), 2 saves, 9 fouls, 2 offsides, 3 corners