The Rowdies defeated FC Edmonton 3-0 on Sunday night at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella picked up his tenth shutout of the 2012 season, and his fifteenth clean sheet of his career.
Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard in the 21st minute, as forward Daniel Antoniuk connected a powerful header on goal, after a great free kick by midfielder Luke Mulholland. This is Antoniuk’s team-high seventh goal, while Mulholland picked up his fourth assist in the season.
“Getting the lead early was very pleasing,” said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. “It was a great cross by Luke, and even better finish by Daniel. The goal really shifted the games momentum, and all credit goes to the players for still pushing for more after the initial goal.”The lead was extended in the 43rd minute, as forward Mike Ambersley received a pass from midfielder Keith Savage, and took a shot from 22 yards out. His strike curled into the bottom right corner of the net, giving the Rowdies a 2-0 lead. This is Ambersley’s sixth goal of the season, and Savage’s fifth assist of the year.
Mulholland scored in the 51st minute to put Tampa Bay up 3-0. Antoniuk headed the ball down at the left post into the heart of the box, and Mulholland entered the 6-yard box sliding it past Smits. This is Mulholland’s fifth goal and Antoniuk’s fourth assist in the season.
The Rowdies had their first chance of the game in the fourth minute, as Antoniuk picked up a rebound on the edge of the box but Edmonton goalkeeper Smits contains his strike.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a great save as he denied Edmonton forward Kyle Porter the goal, coming off his line.
The first goal for the Rowdies came in the 21st minute, whenAntoniuk received a perfect cross from Mulholland’s free kick. Antoniuk was unmarked, and deposited his header in the back of the net.
The Rowdies gained momentum after the first goal and were rewarded with the second goal of the night in the 43rd minute, as Ambersley received a pass from Savage, and took a great shot, giving the Rowdies a more comfortable lead.
“The two goal cushion right before was nice, but a little bit awkward for us,” commented Hill. “We knew that if after the half Edmonton was able to get a goal, they would have thrown all their players forward in order to get the draw or the win. That would have put our players under great pressure, and I let them know at the half that we needed to extend the lead.”In the 51st minute, Mulholland scored the final goal of the night. Antoniuk was able to header the ball into the area before it went out of play, setting up Mulholland for the final goal of the match.
The Rowdies continued to pressure Edmonton, as Ambersley entered the right side of the box and took a shot. Smits was able to contain it, as Ambersley looked to extend the lead.
In the 64thminute defender Andres Arango was able to keep the home team off the score sheet as he poked the ball away after a dangerous cross by Edmonton entered Tampa Bay’s box.
Second half substitute Fafa Picault had a chance to get the fourth goal of the night, as his shot from 25 yards out was headed for the back of the net, but Smits dove to his right to make the save. On the rebound, Ambersley fired a shot, but Smits recovered in time to make a kick save, sending the ball out for a corner kick.
Once again, Attinella came up big for Tampa Bay as in the 78th minute, as he made a huge save on Porter, diving to his left to make the point-blank save.
“It was a great win for us heading into the last two games of the regular season,” said Hill. “With that said, I still feel we must work on correcting certain defensive lapses to make sure Jeff doesn’t have to make the kind of game-changing save he did today. I am very pleased with the win and I know that if we patch up certain defensive mistakes we will be a tough team to beat in the playoffs.”The Rowdies are now unbeaten in nine out of their last 10 matches, including five wins. Tampa Bay is currently on a four game unbeaten streak, winning two and drawing two matches.
The Rowdies host their last regular season home match, when they play Carolina on Wednesday, September 19 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Al Lang Stadium in Downtown St. Petersburg.
Tampa Bay: Daniel Antoniuk - 21st minute; assisted by Luke Mulholland
Tampa Bay: Mike Ambersley - 43th minute; assisted by Keith Savage
Tampa Bay: Luke Mulholland - 51st minute; assisted by Daniel Antoniuk
Tampa Bay: Mike Ambersley - 39th minute
FC Edmonton: Sérisay Barthélémy - 45th minute
FC Edmonton: Antonio Rago - 87th minute
Tampa Bay Rowdies:
GK Jeff Attinella, D Stuart Campbell (Captain), D JP Rodriguez, D Takuya Yamada, D Andres Arango, M Mulholland, M Shane Hill, M Keith Savage (Dan O'Brien 67'), M Evans Frimpong (Raphael Cox 76'), F Mike Ambersley, F Daniel Antoniuk (Fafa Picault 67')
GK John Smits, D Adam West, D Kévin Hatchi, D Chris Kooy, D Antonio Rago, M Bryan Arguez, M Kenny Caceros (Dino Gardner 86'), M Dominic Oppong; F Sérisay Barthélémy (Elvir Gigolaj 45') , F Michael Cox (Paul Craig 61'), F Kyle Porter