FC Tampa Bay ended its match in a 1-1 draw Saturday night against the Atlanta Silverbacks.
FCTB forward Mike Ambersley scored a pivotal goal in the 74th minute, giving FC Tampa Bay the draw and a point.
The Green and Gold came back to end the match in a tie after Silverbacks defender Willie Hunt found the back of the net just before the end of the first half off a free kick from Mario Perez, giving Atlanta the 1-0 advantage at halftime.
FCTB started the game decisively with short passes and good movement on and off the ball.
Only 10 minutes into the match goalkeeper Daryl Sattler collided with an Atlanta player inside of the 18-yard box and he had to leave the game because of an injury sustained to his knee.
Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made his first professional debut in relief of Sattler and played the remainder of the match, posting three saves.
“Daryl is one of our leaders so when he went down it was a big blow to the team,” said Attinella. “I train hard and hopefully the guys have enough confidence in me if I have to step in another situation like this again.”
In the 22nd minute midfielder Chad Burt shuffled some fancy footwork through the Atlanta defense and slipped a nearly miraculous pass to Ambersley, whose shot was saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Felipe Quintero.
Midfielder Pascal Millien had the crowd on edge at Al Lang Stadium in the 26th minute when he used his excellent skills to send an Atlanta defender sliding. Millien had four shots in the game, as did forward Warren Ukah.
The match continued in a very aggressive manner after intermission, with both teams working hard to maintain possession. For the match, FCTB held a 20-10 advantage in shots.
Finally, in the 74th minute Ambersley put FC Tampa Bay on the board with an assist from forward Aaron King.
“There was only one run to make there and that was toward the goal,” said Ambersley, “I am lucky that King found me with such a great ball. Then I saw the goalie come out a little bit and I just played it right under his arm.”
FCTB continued to penetrate the Silverbacks defense but was unable to come up with the win. Atlanta tried to create offensive opportunities but only had four shots in the second half. In the 88th minute Atlanta forward Matt Horth made a dangerous breakaway dribble toward the net. FCTB defender Omar Jarun thwarted the close call opportunity by easily collecting the ball from the attacker.
“Overall I am still looking for a better cutting-edge to our game and a more clinical kind of style,” said head coach Ricky Hill. “We need to understand where we are on the pitch at all given times and what we can do with the ball.”
FCTB returns to play next Saturday, May 7 when it hosts the Carolina RailHawks at 7:00 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium.
ATL: Willie Hunt - 45+ minute (assisted by Mario Perez)
TB - Mike Ambersley - 74th minute (assisted by Aaron King)
ATL: Willie Hunt - 18th minute
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Daryl Sattler (GK Jeff Attinella 10'), D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D J.P. Rodrigues, D Omar Jarun, M Tony McManus, M Chad Burt, M Pascal Millien, M Mozzi Gyorio (Keith Savage 88'), F Warren Ukah (King 61'), F Mike Ambersley
Atlanta Silverbacks Lineup: GK Felipe Quintero, D Mario Perez, D Tyler Ruthven, D Willie Hunt, D Shane Moroney, M Fernando Gonzalez, M Lucas Paulini (Captain), M Kohei Matsushita (Raphael Cox 69'), M Jordan Davis, F Matt Horth (Jon Cox 76'), F Ciaran O'Brien (Emsad Zahirovic 37')
FC Tampa Bay: 20 Shots, 3 Saves, 12 Corner Kicks, 13 Fouls
Atlanta: 10 Shots, 5 Saves, 1 Corner Kick, 12 Fouls