The Rowdies blanked Saint Leo 4-0 Wednesday night at Countryside Sportsplex, presented by United World Soccer, as the Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour neared its completion. Tampa Bay has not allowed a goal during an impressive run through its exhibition schedule, posting a 5-0-0 record and outscoring its opponents 11-0.
"I was pleased that we kept another clean sheet and that is a credit to Jeff Attinella and Andrew Fontein in net," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I was happy that we were finally able to convert some of our chances. I felt like our build-up play, especially in the first half, was very good but unfortunately we were not able to finish with the final execution."
The Rowdies dominated play in the first half with a 18-2 shot advantage. Tampa Bay finally broke through on the scoreboard in the 25th minute after midfielder Takuya Yamada placed a great through ball to forward Mike Ambersley, who fed it to from the right side to an open Tsuyoshi Yoshitake in front of the net. Yoshitake one-timed it from inside the six-yard box and into the net for his first goal of the preseason and a 1-0 Rowdies lead.
The Rowdies continued to dominate possession of the ball in the second half, with the first shot coming in the 55th minute, when Ambersley's shot from the left was saved by Saint Leo goalkeeper John Jones. In the following minute, forward Luke Mulholland had a great chance to get the second goal with a shot from 30 yards, but it was pushed over the bar by Jones for a corner kick.
The Rowdies were awarded a penalty kick when a Saint Leo defender was called for a hand ball. Yamada converted the penalty shot and gave the Rowdies a 2-0 lead in the 83rd minute.
Just a minute later, Yoshitake placed a perfect through ball to second half substitute Matt Clare and the forward powered a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box past the reach of Jones for a 3-0 margin. It marked Clare's second straight game with a goal for the Rowdies.
The Rowdies continued to pressure the Lions’ defense and one minute later were rewarded with their third goal in as many minutes. Clare placed a perfect feed to Mulholland, who tapped it in from inside the six-yard box for his team-leading third goal of the preseason.
"I received a lot of great service from the guys all night long and a lot of space to unleash a few shots," said Mulholland. "I was happy to get the goal at the end of the game after a great assist from Matt. We have started to create more chances and we just need to keep working hard in practice."
The Rowdies closed the match by outshooting the Lions 32-4, while holding them to no shots on goal.
"It was excellent for us to come away with the four goals at the end of the night, the most for us in a game this preseason," said Hill. "It was nice to come away with the victory and I think our overall play was much better than last Saturday night at USF. Before the game, I asked our entire team to be more efficient and to execute correctly when we got the opportunity."
The Rowdies Rush 2012 Preseason Tour concludes this Saturday, March 31 as the Rowdies will play their NASL rivals, the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The match will be played at the FYSA Auburndale Complex (2828 Lake Myrtle Park Road, Auburndale, FL 33823) and will start at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free of charge.
Rowdies: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 25th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
Rowdies: Takuya Yamada - 83rd minute (penalty kick)
Rowdies: Matt Clare - 84th minute (assisted by Tsuyoshi Yoshitake)
Rowdies: Luke Mulholland - 85th minute (assisted by Matt Clare)
Rowdies: Andres Arango - 38th minute
Rowdies Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella (Andrew Fontein 62'), D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Daniel Scott (Matt Clare 45'), D Andres Arango (Draymond Washington 45'), D JP Rodrigues, M Stuart Campbell, M Dan O'Brien, M Takuya Yamada, F Luke Mulholland, F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, F Mike Ambersley (Thurstan Johnson 62')
Saint Leo Lineup: GK Sean Jones, D Michael Panter, D Joey Lontrato, D Sean Mcfarlane (Captain), D Konstantin Pyankov, M Bruna Da Dsilva, M Kyle Wilson, M Joel Purkiss, M George Martinez, F Aaron Gendreau, F Jesper Otterstedt
Rowdies: 32 shots (21 on goal), 0 saves, 12 fouls, 8 corners
Saint Leo: 4 shots (0 on goal), 17 saves, 11 fouls, 0 corners