ST. PETERSBURG, FL (May 25, 2012) -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Minnesota Stars FC played to a scoreless tie Friday night at Al Lang Stadium on the third annual Military Appreciation Night. With the tie, the Rowdies snapped Minnesota's winning streak at three and the Stars were held scoreless for the first time in their last six matches. Both teams were playing their third match in seven days.
Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella moved into sole possession of the franchise record for shutouts with the seventh of his career, including his second this season.
The Rowdies had 12 shots, including four on goal, on the night. Tampa Bay's defense held the Stars to just one shot on goal in the match after Minnesota had scored 14 total goals in its previous five matches. In addition, Tampa Bay continued its first half shutout streak and has yet to allow a goal this season in the first 45 minutes.
"I think overall we could do a lot better in terms of the timing and execution of our passes," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I thought on the defensive side we were never really uncomfortable and were in control for most of the evening. But offensively we didn't do enough and were not very patient in our chances. Tonight our timing was off and we need to improve in the final third."
The Rowdies controlled most of the possession in the first half, and had the better of the chances. Forward Mike Ambersley broke in on goal in the 11th minute only to have his shot deflected wide for a corner by Minnesota goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt. The Stars had their first chance of the game a few minutes later off a set piece but a header from inside the box by defender Kyle Altman rang off the crossbar. The Rowdies then capitalized on a turnover in the middle of the field into a good opportunity for Ambersley, but he was denied again by Hildebrandt in the 23rd minute.
In the 58th minute the Rowdies had one of their best chances of the game when defender Takuya Yamada crossed the ball to forward Daniel Antoniuk, who headed the ball just over the goal.
Minnesota only had a few chances on goal in the second half, with one coming in the 64th minute off a corner after a giveaway in the middle of the field. That led to a run down the side but the shot was saved by Attinella.
"We had a couple chances in the first half and their goalie made a few good saves," said Ambersley. "We didn't get a lot of opportunities in the second half; they kind of sat back and clogged up the middle. It was a tough game and we weren't able to get the victory."
Up next, the Rowdies will face Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup this Tuesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. Fans can purchase tickets by clicking here.
Tampa Bay Rowdies: Stuart Campbell - 69th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D Takuya Yamada, D Draymond Washington, M Stuart Campbell, M Shane Hill (Matt Clare 71'), M Keith Savage, F Luke Mulholland (Fafa Picault 77', Dan O'Brien 90'+), F Mike Ambersley, F Daniel Antoniuk
Minnesota Stars FC
GK Mitch Hildebrandt, D Kevin Friedland (Shawn Chin 87'), D Evan Sassano, D Kyle Altman (Captain) (Connor Tobin 70'), D Ernest Tchoupe, M Fuad Ibrahim, M Daniel Wasson, M Michael Reed, M Andy Lorei, F Devin Del Do, F Travis Wall (Martin Nunez 71')
Tampa Bay: 12 shots, 4 shots on goal, 1 save, 7 fouls, 3 corners, 0 offsides
Minnesota: 8 shots, 1 shot on goal, 4 saves, 3 fouls, 1 corner, 1 offsides