In front of an electric crowd, FC Tampa Bay defeated the Montreal Impact 1-0 in its 2011 season opener on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.
Midfielder Tayuka Yamada gave FCTB the win with a late goal in the 85th minute of the match, marking the club’s first victory against its NASL Canadian rival. Goalkeeper Daryl Sattler made eight saves for the shutout.
"I am very pleased for our fans, the players and our entire organization," said head coach Ricky Hill. "It is always nice to start out with a win."
FCTB started out strong with forward Aaron King getting a shot off in the third minute of the match. FCTB kept the Impact on their toes with short, controlled passes leading to several good opportunities on the net.
In the seventh minute midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake took an indirect free kick outside of the 18-yard box but was unable to put a point on the board for FCTB.
Forward Pascal Millien followed with a few more shots in the 24th and 32nd minutes. And Tony McManus took another shot in the 36th minute.
Both teams came out of the locker room with the same intent: to score quickly in the second half. FCTB’s opportunity came first with midfielder Keith Savage’s shot, sent high just 30 seconds after kickoff. And then Montreal answered right back with a shot saved by Sattler.
In the 50th minute FCTB captain Frankie Sanfilippo created a great run starting with a long clear from defense which ended in a shot that flew high of the net.
Montreal took a shot from a free kick near midfield in the 53rd minute. Three minutes later Millien was fouled inside of Montreal’s defensive half and awarded a free kick. Neither team managed a goal.
Sattler made six saves in the second half of the match as Montreal began applying more pressure, outshooting FCTB 8-5 in the final 45 minutes.
A golden opportunity presented itself in the 84th minute of the match when Montreal goalkeeper Bill Gaudette fouled forward Warren Ukah inside of the penalty box. Yoshitake’s penalty kick curved just left of the net and the match remained scoreless.
Yamada’s game-winning goal came seconds later in the 85th minute when he took a shot off outside of the 18-yard-box off a rebound.
"I think it shows the mentality of our team that they didn't get deflated after the penalty kick and still get going by keeping the pressure on them," said Hill. "It was a fantasic shot by Yama that won the game."
FCTB: Yamada - 85th minute
FCTB: Yoshitake - 45th minute
FCTB: Ambersley - 90th+ minute
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Daryl Sattler, D J.P. Rodrigues, D Omar Jarun, D David Hayes, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), M Takuya Yamada, M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (M Mozzi Gyorio 90+), M Tony McManus, M Keith Savage (Warren Ukah 69’), F Pascal Millien, F Aaron King (Mike Ambersley 69’)
Montreal Impact Lineup: GK Bill Gaudette, D Nevio Pizzolitto (Captain), D Hassoun Camara, D Zourab Tsiskaridze, D Philippe Billy, M Luke Kreamalmeyer, M Amir Lowery (Mircea Ilcu 90’), M Antonio Ribeiro (Anthony Le Gall 70’), M Simon Gatti, M Pierre Rudolph Mayard, F Ali Gerba
FC Tampa Bay: 10 Shots, 8 Saves, 5 Corner Kicks, 10 Fouls -2 Yellow Cards (Yoshitake 45’, Ambersley 90+’)
Montreal Impact: 11 Shots, 2 Saves, 7 Corner Kicks, 10 Fouls