Look Back Part 2 FCTB vs. Austin on May 8
The following is part two of the “Best 10 of 2010” series, which is taking a look back at FC Tampa Bay’s best games of the inaugural season.
After three games on the road to start the inaugural season, FC Tampa Bay brought it home in a 2-2 draw with Austin Aztex in front of a sellout crowd at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Perry Van Der Beck on the match:
“After a three-game road trip, it was so good to come home and play a top-ranked team in front of a sellout crowd. Ralph’s Mob added to the already-electric atmosphere and provided support unlike any other fans in the league. Although the game was a draw, the team played beyond expectations against a formidable rival.”
In front of a sellout crowd, Jeremy Christie coolly converted an 86th minute penalty kick into the game-tying goal Saturday night. FC Tampa Bay hosted the Austin Aztex at George M. Steinbrenner Field and drew 2-2 in their 2010 inaugural season home opener.
The sellout crowd of 8,082 was energetic before the match as former Rowdies, including former captain Rodney Marsh, were introduced on the field and Cornelia Corbett was honored with the first-ever Striped Scarf award as part of the pre-game festivities. Led by Ralph’s Mob, the crowd got even louder as Daryl Sattler, Rob Valentino, Julian Valentin, Jeremy Christie, Chad Burt, Yendry Diaz, Pascal Millien, Aaron King, Long Tan, Stanley Nyazamba and Takuya Yamada took the field to get the match underway.
A deafening roar was heard as Tan was fouled in the 18-yard box only nine minutes into the match. The referee signaled for a penalty kick right away and King stepped forward to take it. King sent it to the bottom corner of the net with authority, giving FCTB an early 1-0 lead. King also scored the first road goal against Crystal Palace Baltimore on April 16th.
“I was just thinking I want to put our team up and hope that that would give us a little more fire to keep going,” said King. “I want to keep working. I want to score some bigger goals and set up some bigger goals too.”
Austin forward Eddie Johnson leveled the score at 1-1 with a 28th minute free kick goal. The free kick was awarded just outside of goalkeeper Daryl Sattler’s right goal post and about 25 yards out. Johnson successfully got his kick over the defense and back down in time just past the hands of a diving Sattler.
In a scramble near the goal in the 60th minute, FCTB defender Rob Valentino was judged to have cleared a shot off the goal line with his upper arm and was given a red card. FCTB were reduced to 10 men and Austin was awarded a penalty kick. Jamie Watson scored the penalty for Austin, giving the away team a 2-1 lead with half an hour to play.
With one less man, the FCTB offense seemed to find space easier and used the full width of the field with more fluidity. FCTB kept pushing for the game-tying goal and it was the referee again who gave them their chance.
Stanley Nyazamba carried the ball into the Austin 18-yard box and was slide tackled by an Austin defender. For the third time in the match, the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Jeremy Christie stepped up and put the penalty kick into the back of the net, securing a hard-fought 2-2 draw. When FCTB entered the 85th minute down a man and a goal, it seemed unlikely that they could salvage a positive result from the game, but they never gave up and were rewarded for the effort.