FC Tampa Bay lost 3-1 to Carolina on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium after allowing two second-half goals to the RailHawks.
"Defensively we have been quite sound but tonight for whatever reason in moments when it mattered, we lacked concentration and we lacked a bit of cohesion with the group," said head coach Ricky Hill. "If a defender has a lapse and makes a mistake, generally he gets punished for it."
Carolina struck first as forward Etienne Barbara, the NASL Player of the Month for April, scored his league-leading fifth goal of the season off an assist from midfielder Stephen Glass in the 20th minute. But FC Tampa Bay quickly responded as midfielder Pascal Millien put the ball in the bottom left corner of the net in the 23rd minute to tie the match at 1-1. The goal was Millien's first of the 2011 season and came off an assist from midfielder Tony McManus.
"It felt great after five games to finally put one in the back of the net," said Millien. "But on Wednesday we need to come right back and do everything we can to get three points. The way we started the first half is how we are supposed to finish it."
FC Tampa Bay had several chances in the opening minutes of the second half. The first opportunity came as defender David Hayes served a free kick into the box and Warren Ukah's header was saved by Knighton. Just moments later, Hayes took another free kick, which deflected off Knighton but was cleared from the box.
Carolina regained the lead in the 52nd minute on a goal by forward Brian Farber, with Barbara getting the assist.
FC Tampa Bay was inches from tying the game in the 74th minute as Ukah just missed wide after a pass from Mike Ambersley in the box.
The RailHawks extended their lead shortly after as Barbara scored his second of the game in the 76th minute following a pass from Chris Nurse. The ball was deflected off a FC Tampa Bay defender and into the goal.
"I cannot fault the players for their application and their effort, but I think we can be a lot smarter and demand a lot more from each other when they are on the field to ensure that we don't have these lapses," said Hill.
FC Tampa Bay rookie goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made his first professional start and had five saves in the match. FCTB goalkeeper Daryl Sattler suffered a torn ACL last Saturday against Atlanta and will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2011 season. FCTB was also without the services of starting defender Andres Arango, who missed the game because of an ankle injury.
"I have been playing this game a long time and games go that way sometimes," said Attinella. "Obviously it was not how I wanted my first start to go. It was frustrating but hopefully we can come out on Wednesday and get a victory."
FC Tampa Bay concludes its homestand this Wednesday, May 11 when it hosts FC Edmonton at 7 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium.
CAR: Etienne Barbara - 20th minute (assisted by Stephen Glass)
FCTB: Pascal Millien - 23rd minute (assisted by Tony McManus)
CAR: Brian Farber - 52nd minute (assisted by Etienne Barbara)
CAR: Etienne Barbara - 76th minute (assisted by Chris Nurse)
CAR: Floyd Franks - 1st minute
CAR: Kupono Low - 48th minute
FCTB: Frankie Sanfilippo - 62nd minute
FC Tampa Bay lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D J.P. Rodrigues, D David Hayes, D Omar Jarun, M Tony McManus, M Pascal Millien, M Mozzi Gyorio (Takuya Yamada 73'), M Chad Burt (Tsuyoshi Yoshitake 79'), F Warren Ukah (Aaron King 79'), F Mike Ambersley
Carolina lineup: GK Brad Knighton, D Brad Rusin (Captain), D Kupono Low, D Devon McKenney, D John Krause, M Floyd Franks, M Stephen Glass (Chris Nurse 64'), M Matt Watson (Cory Elenio 85'), F Brian Farber (Jonny Steele 60'), F Etienne Barbara, F Nick Zimmerman
FC Tampa Bay: 20 Shots, 5 Saves, 3 Corner Kicks, 8 Fouls
Carolina: 15 Shots, 11 Saves, 5 Corner Kicks, 15 Fouls