A late goal by forward Matt Clare gave FC Tampa Bay a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon against BK Häcken, a Swedish first division club, at theKics International Soccer Complex in Sunrise, Florida.
The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the first half. After getting organized for the first 10 minutes, FC Tampa Bay did a good job keeping possession and moving the ball, as well as creating some chances in the offensive third in the first 45 minutes.
F Mike Ambersley had the club's best chance in the first half with a scoring opportunity in the 20th minute, but was denied by BK Häcken goalkeeper Christopher Kallqvist. Moments later, BK Häcken had its best chance as it hit the post following some good combination play. FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella was tested a few times in the first half, but responded on each occasion.
In the second half defender Frankie Sanfilippo pushed forward from his right back position in the 61st minute, but was stopped on a great save by Kallqvist. Just a minute later, F Aaron King was one on one with Kallqvist but was denied as well.
After most of FC Tampa Bay's starters and regulars had already headed to the bench, BK Häcken got on the scoreboard with a goal in the 69th minute. Trialist goalkeeper Sanel Boric replaced Attinella in the 79th minute and proceeded to make back-to-back strong saves just minutes later to keep the deficit at one goal.
The saves proved crucial as FC Tampa Bay tied the game in the 86th minute. Midfielder Takuya Yamada put pressure on the defense, which forced a poor back pass to Kallqvist. Trialist Clare, who had entered the game in the 56th minute for Ambersley, took advantage and tied the game at 1-1.
"It was some good all-around pressure from the back to the front, and I was fortunate enough to be there to put it away," said Clare. "To be back playing professionally and to score my first goal, it was great because we all work so hard everyday in practice. I am just glad I had the opportunity to draw our team even with a great club from Sweden."
FC Tampa Bay was missing the services of several key players, including M Jeremy Christie, D Yendry Diaz, M Tony McManus, GK Daryl Sattler and M Keith Savage.
BK Häcken: 69th minute
FCTB: Clare - 86th minute
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella (GK Sanel Boric 79'), D Frankie Sanfilippo - captain, D Andres Arango, D Yohance Marshall, D Willis Forko (D Javed Mohammed 65'), M Chad Burt (Mozzi Gyorio 56'), M Takuya Yamada, M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, M Pascal Millien, F Aaron King (Lister Warren 63') and F Mike Ambersley (Matt Clare 56')