FC Tampa Bay posted its third shutout of the year, with all three coming against Montreal, as it posted a 3-0 victory over the Impact Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella earned his first career shutout with 11 saves and the offense notched a season-high three goals, with the scores coming from forwards Warren Ukah, Mike Ambersley and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake.
“We have been threatening over the last couple of games to score more than one goal," said head coach Ricky Hill. "It was nice to see that and it was great to get in front in the first half. And Jeff (Attinella) played a great game and kept us in the game at a vital time.”
FC Tampa Bay came out strong, controlling the ball early on in front of a boisterous crowd. Yoshitake had a near breakaway in the 13th minute of the match but was cut off by Montreal’s defense before he could secure the run. Minutes later Montreal posted an offensive attack that defender J.P. Rodrigues easily corralled with a slide tackle.
Midfielder Takuya Yamada placed a long cross from the right corner to Yoshitake’s head in the 17th minute but the shot was just wide of the goal. Yoshitake had another chance on the net in the 37th minute off a long pass from Burt but the one-touch shot sailed just high of the crossbar.
Ukah opened the scoring off of a pinpoint pass from defender David Hayes in the 40th minute to give FCTB a 1-0 lead in the first half. Hayes legwork paid off and Ukah turned and delivered his first goal for FC Tampa Bay.
"As soon as we got the goal, everyone took a step back, took a deep breath and started to play some good football," said Ukah. "It was good for the team to get the early goal and put pressure on the other team."
In the 74th minute Montreal midfielder Leonardo Di Lorenzo was sent off the field with an automatic red card after a hand ball saved another FC Tampa Bay goal. Ambersley sent the ball to the left corner of the net with his penalty kick for his team-leading second goal of the season.
FC Tampa Bay put the game away in the 84th minute when midfielder Chad Burt sent Yoshitake up the right side of the field into Montreal territory. Yoshitake manipulated the remaining defenders and pulled Montreal keeper Bill Gaudette off of his line. After a few fancy steps, Yoshitake struck the ball off of the end line and pushed the ball through the gap for his first goal of the year.
"Once we scored the first goal, we didn't look back," said Attinella. "We kept the pressure on and our defense did a great job. The shots I did have to face were pretty far out and you know those are easier to save."
Prior to the match FC Tampa Bay recognized Sergeant Cheryl Knapton of the United States Air Force during its second annual Military Appreciation Night. Sergeant Knapton has 19 years of service with the U.S. Air Force and is a reservist with the 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron out of MacDill Air Force Base. Sergeant Knapton recently returned home from both Iraq and Afghanistan, where she participated in operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn.
FC Tampa Bay begins a two-game road trip when it heads to Minnesota to take on the Stars on Saturday, May 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
FC Tampa Bay lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Andres Arango (Omar Jarun 35'), D JP Rodrigues, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D David Hayes, M Mike Ambersley, M Keith Savage, M Takuya Yamada, M Chad Burt, F Warren Ukah (Aaron King 45'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake
Montreal Impact lineup: GK Bill Gaudette, D Philippe Billy, D Nevio Pizzolitto (Captain), D Zurab Tsiskaridze, D Hassoun Camara, M Leonardo Di Lorenzo, M David Testo (Antonio Ribeiro 58'), M Amir Lowery (Hicham Aaboubou 61'), M Mignane Diouf (Pierre-Rudolph Mayard 75'), M Anthony Le Gall, F Reda Agourram
FCTB: Warren Ukah - 40th minute (assisted by David Hayes)
FCTB: Mike Ambersley - 74th minute - penalty kick
FCTB: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 84th minute (assisted by Chad Burt)
FCTB: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 56th minute
MTL: Nevio Pizzolitto - 56th minute
FCTB: Chad Burt - 59th minute
MTL: Zurab Tsiskaridze - 76th minute
MTL: Leonardo Di Lorenzo - 74th minute
FC Tampa Bay: 12 Shots, 11 Saves, 13 Corner Kicks, 9 Fouls
Montreal: 17 Shots, 3 Saves, 1 Corner Kicks, 12 Fouls