JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 22, 2012) -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies advanced to the third round of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 3-0 victory over Jacksonville United Tuesday night at Patton Park in Jacksonville.
The Rowdies now face Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids in the third round next Tuesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Fans can purchase tickets by clicking here.
"We are delighted that we managed to come out with the victory tonight," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "All of the players and our fans will be excited to welcome Colorado to our home pitch next Tuesday. It will be a great occasion to test our skills and see where our level is compared to Major League Soccer. Our players are capable of playing with anyone at any given time, and that was proven last July in our victory over English Premier League side Bolton. We are looking forward to the challenge."
After a one-hour delay because of lightning in the area, the Rowdies jumped on top early when forward Mike Ambersley connected in the second minute off a pass from forward Daniel Antoniuk for a 1-0 lead.
"It was a fantastic start with the early goal," said Hill. "After some nice work with Dizzy (Daniel Antoniuk), Mike Ambersley tucked it away expertly in the bottom corner. Like I have said before, these games are not easy. Everyone expects you to win but you have to earn the right to win. We were happy to get that first goal."
The Rowdies kept up the early pressure, with forward Matt Clare missing wide in the 13th minute and midfielder Stuart Campbell's chance in the 16th minute going over the crossbar.
Tampa Bay's hard work paid off again in the 19th minute. Ambersley fired a shot that was saved by Jacksonville United goalkeeper Stuart McCrory, but the rebound landed to Antoniuk, who deposited it into the back of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
"We had struggled with our consistency after the first goal," said Hill. "But it was a hard shot by Mike that the keeper could only deflect, and Daniel was there to put in the rebound."
Following intermission, Jacksonville United had its best chance of the match when midfielder Tyler Williams hit the post in the 51st minute. Rowdies midfielder Shane Hill tested McCrory in the 55th minute as his shot was deflected for a corner kick.
Midfielder Keith Savage, who came on for Antoniuk in the 59th minute, made an immediate impact when he extended the Rowdies lead to 3-0 with a goal in the 65th minute from Luke Mulholland.
"Keith's goal gave us a nice cushion at that point and all in all, it was a good night for us," said Hill.
Tampa Bay returns to NASL action this Friday, May 25 when it hosts Minnesota on Military Appreciation Night at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. The first 500 fans will receive the official 2012 team photo, courtesy of Fast Signs of Fowler. The match is also FYSA Night of Champions and local youth clubs will be honored prior to the game. For ticket information, call 813-287-1539 or click here.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 2nd minute (assisted by Daniel Antoniuk)
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Daniel Antoniuk - 19th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Keith Savage - 65th minute (assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Jacksonville United: Hollis Donaldson - 51st minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D Draymond Washington, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill, M Luke Mulholland (Dan O'Brien 77'), F Mike Ambersley, F Daniel Antoniuk (Keith Savage 59'), F Matt Clare (Fafa Picault 58')
GK Stuart McCrory, D Adam Allee, D Hollis Donaldson, D Mats Elmsater, D Jacobi Goodfellow, M Stefan Durr (Darko Karamatic 59'), M Jonathan Glenn (Ramak Safi 67'), M Enrique Haussler, M Jay Nelson, M Tyler Williams, F Tornislav Krizanovic
925 (new JUFC men's record)