ST. PETERSBURG, FL (April 14, 2012) - The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated FC Edmonton 1-0 in the 2012 Home Opener at Al Lang Stadium in front of an enthusiastic crowd on Saturday night.
Defender Takuya Yamada scored in the 20th minute after a pass from defender Andres Arango for the lone goal. Yamada's goal marked the second straight season that he notched the game-winner in the home opener, following his goal in the 85th minute in last season's 1-0 over Montreal on April 9.
The Rowdies controlled possession for the first several minutes of play with the first opportunity coming in the eighth minute. Forward Luke Mulholland placed a great through ball to forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who tried to chip the ball over FC Edmonton goalkeeper Michal Misiewicz, but he made a great save.
The Rowdies came close to getting on the scoreboard in the 14th minute as Mulholland received a great cross from Yoshitake, but Misiewicz came up big once again, keeping the match scorelesss.
Tampa Bay broke the draw in the 20th minute with Yamada's goal. After a Rowdies corner kick, Arango gained possession of the ball and delivered a great feed from the end line back to Yamada, who beat Misiewicz in the bottom corner of the far post.
“It all happened a little fast, I know the ball was bouncing in the air and I knew that if I tried to hit it on goal I probably wasn’t going to get anything on it,” said Arango. “I took it down and I saw Yama open and I just had to lay it up and luckily he is so clean with those hits, so he just hit it to the back of the net.”
Yamada’s goal gave the Rowdies a 1-0 lead and their first goal of the season.
“Yama was excellent throughout the whole game; he set the tempo from the first minute,” said Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill. “It was fitting that he was the one who actually got us the first goal. I am delighted for him and the side.”
Midfielder Stuart Campbell made a great defensive effort midway through the first half after Edmonton’s Paul Hamilton powered a header past Jeff Attinella, clearing the ball off the line, keeping the Rowdies up 1-0.
“All credit to Stuart because his position was near the post,” said Hill. “They tried to play it short, which meant he should have come away from the post but he reverted back onto the line and saved us at that moment in time.”
The Rowdies closed the half with a great chance in the 43rd minute when forward Mike Ambersley’s strong shot from outside the 18-yard box went wide right.
Tampa Bay opened the second half maintaining the same pressure as the first half and in the 48th minute came close to increasing the lead when Yoshitake’s shot from inside the box went wide left. In the 80th minute, Mulholland had the chance to close the game with a powerful volley after an almost perfect cross from second half substitute forward Matt Clare. His shot was heading to the bottom right of the net but Misiewicz reacted in time, sending the ball out for a corner kick.
The Rowdies demonstrated a solid defensive presence throughout the match, especially in the second half when Edmonton came out strong to try to score the equalizer. Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made eight saves in earning his sixth career shutout with the Rowdies, including one in the 88th minute as he pushed the ball over the bar after it took a deflection off a Rowdies defender.
“I felt we were executing as a team and after we scored Edmonton came into the game slightly,” said Hill. “They started to play a little more direct and we weren’t as precise and concise of how we were defending at that time of the game. All credit must go to Jeff and the back four.”
The Rowdies return to action this Wednesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. when they host Carolina in their first of two Retro Nights at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg.
Fans are encouraged to wear retro Rowdies apparel and tickets will be available at the 1975 inaugural Rowdies price of $7.50 in General Admission or Lower Goal Reserved seating. The team and its fans will have the opportunity to celebrate the Rowdies tradition on both April 18 and September 19.
To receive this special offer fans must contact the front office at 813-287-1539 or email at email@example.com. Discounted tickets for these matches will only be available until 12 noon on the day of game.
For more information about Retro Night with the Rowdies, click here
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Takuya Yamada - 20th minute (assisted by Andres Arango)
FC Edmonton: Jonathan Joseph-Augustin - 26th minute
FC Edmonton: Dominic Oppong - 67th minute
FC Edmonton: Ilja van Leerdam - 78th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Shane Hill - 82nd minute
FC Edmonton: Kevin Hatchi - 84th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo, D JP Rodrigues, D Andres Arango, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill, M Keith Savage (Matt Clare 67'), F Luke Mulholland, F Mike Ambersley (Daniel Scott 86'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Daniel Antoniuk 73')
FC Edmonton Lineup: GK Michal Misiewicz, D Fabrice Lassonde (Alex Semenets 82'), D Kevin Hatchi, D Paul Hamilton (Captain), D Jonathan Joseph-Augustin, M Ilja van Leerdam, M Dominic Oppong, M Shaun Saiko, F Serisay Barthelemy, F Kyle Porter (Michael Cox 89'), F Matt Lam
Tampa Bay Rowdies: 14 shots, 9 saves, 12 fouls, 7 corners, 1 offsides
FC Edmonton: 14 shots, 6 saves, 19 fouls, 8 corners, 1 offsides