ST. PETERSBURG, FL (July 28, 2012) -- The Rowdies used a goal by forward Daniel Antoniuk in the 44th minute to post their third consecutive victory and seventh win in the last eight matches with a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. The victory, their third 1-0 win over FC Edmonton this season, kept the Rowdies unbeaten in their last six league matches at home, including five consecutive home wins.
"It is nice to win when you are not at full throttle as an offensive group," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "It also gives us a lot of confidence that we were able to maintain another clean sheet in the back."
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella earned his third straight shutout, his sixth overall this season and the 11th clean sheet of his career. Tampa Bay extended its current shutout streak to more than 315 minutes as the Rowdies have not allowed a goal since the 45th minute at Minnesota on July 12.
"It is big time defensively when you can put together streaks like this and that is a credit to our defense.," said Attinella. "When we can go on a stretch like this and not concede a goal, I think it shows that our entire team is playing very well."
The Rowdies had several opportunities in the first half, beginning with a header from forward Daniel Antoniuk after a great cross from forward Mike Ambersley in the 14th minute. The header was deflected out of bounds for a Rowdies corner kick. In the 17th minute, Ambersley took a left-footed shot from just outside the box but it missed wide to the right of the goal.
In the 24th minute, forward Matt Clare sent a dangerous cross into the box that forced FC Edmonton goalkeeper John Smits to come off his line and punch the ball away. Just a minute later, midfielder Luke Mulholland fired a right footed shot from about 25 yards out that just sailed over the crossbar.
FC Edmonton had its best chance of the match in the 31st minute as defender Paul Hamilton hit a volley that was headed for the back of the net. But Rowdies midfielder Stuart Campbell saved a goal with a spectacular header off the goal line to force a corner kick.
The Rowdies broke through in the 44th minute as Ambersley sent a perfect cross into the box and Antoniuk finished with a header into the back of the net. The goal was Antoniuk's sixth this season, tied for tops on the team.
"It was a great ball," said Antoniuk. "He put a little curl on it where it was just me and the other guy who could win that ball."
With the assist, Ambersley now has at least one point in six consecutive matches and leads the team with seven assists in 2012. During the streak, Ambersley has three goals and five assists in the last six games.
"I was happy with the goal because the passing was good on the build-up and we executed very well," said Hill.
The Rowdies continued to put pressure on FC Edmonton after the break. Antoniuk got a chance for his second goal of the night in the 48th minute with his header being saved by Smits. FC Edmonton responded a minute later with a good shot from outside the box, but Attinella made a diving save to his right.
In the 52nd minute, Clare received a great long ball from Ambersley. After eluding a defender, his strike from 20 yards out was sent out for a corner after a diving save by Smits. The Rowdies piled on more pressure on Edmonton and in the 58th minute, midfielder Keith Savage picked up a rebound at around the penalty spot and blasted a shot that was cleared off the line by Edmonton’s defense for a corner.
Defender Frankie Sanfilippo nearly gave Tampa Bay its second goal when his header after a long free kick from Mulholland caromed off the post in the 63rd minute. Ambersley also forced tough saves by Smits in both the 66th and 70th minutes on shots from inside the box.
Tampa Bay had nine shots on goal in the match, including eight in the second half. The Rowdies now have outscored their opponents 11-3 during their five-game winning streak at Al Lang Stadium.
Up next, the Rowdies travel to Carolina for the first time this season as they face the RailHawks on Saturday, August 4 at 7:00 p.m. at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Tampa Bay - Daniel Antoniuk - 44th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
FC Edmonton - Bryan Arguez - 21st minute
FC Edmonton - Serisay Barthelemy - 33rd minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies
GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Daniel Scott, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Luke Mulholland, M Keith Savage, F Mike Ambersley, F Daniel Antoniuk (Fafa Picault 68'), F Matt Clare (Tsuyoshi Yoshitake 68')
GK John Smits, D David Proctor, D Paul Hamilton, D Antonio Rago, D Fabian Vorbe, M Kyle Porter, M Chris Kooy (Captain), M Bryan Arguez, F Serisay Barthelemy (Kenny Caceros 87'), F Shaun Saiko (Michael Cox 76'), F Yashir Pinto (Paul Craig 76')
Tampa Bay: 20 shots (9 on goal), 9 saves, 10 fouls, 8 corners, 6 offsides
FC Edmonton: 15 shots (9 on goal), 8 saves, 15 fouls, 3 corners, 3 offsides