FC Tampa Bay earned a point on Saturday night as it played to a scoreless draw against the NSC Minnesota Stars at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota.
FC Tampa Bay rookie goalkeeper Jeff Attinella notched seven saves, including five in the final 45 minutes, in posting his second straight shutout, and Stars netminder Joe Warren had six saves for NSC Minnesota.
"I have mixed emotions about tonight's result," said FC Tampa Bay head coach Ricky Hill. "We had opportunities again to get ourselves ahead in the match but we were not able to convert.
"But I was delighted with Jeff's performance. It was his second straight shutout and he was very assured and confident in goal again. It gives our defense a lot of confidence to know that he is there behind them."
FCTB has now posted four clean sheets in its first eight matches, already equaling its season total from last season of four shutouts in 30 matches. In fact, FC Tampa Bay leads the league with just seven goals allowed thus far in 2011.
FC Tampa Bay had several opportunities to take the lead, including a few chances in the first 45 minutes. Midfielder Chad Burt forced Warren to dive and deflect a free kick around the post in the 20th minute. NSC Minnesota then cleared the ensuing corner kick.
Moments later, midfielder Mozzi Gyorio fired a left-footed shot just wide in the 25th minute. Late in the first half, forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake hit a shot that was deflected wide by Warren.
Attinella kept the Stars off the board in the first half, making two saves as NSC Minnesota held a 8-6 edge in shots.
Attinella and Warren took center stage in the second half, with both up to the task. Attinella was especially impressive in the 60th minute as he made an outstanding save on Andrei Gotsmanov after a nice through ball.
FC Tampa Bay also had its scoring chances in the second half, with forward Warren Ukah getting stopped by Warren on a breakaway and Yoshitake hitting the crossbar with a header in the final 10 minutes.
FCTB concludes its two-match road trip this Tuesday, May 31 when it travels to Foote Field for a matchup with FC Edmonton at 9:30 p.m. The game can be seen live online at www.fctampabay.com.
"We are hoping to get all three points if we possibly can at Edmonton," said Hill. "We have to evaluate the injuries for Tuesday night but the team will be ready to go."
FC Tampa Bay lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D David Hayes, D Takuya Yamada, M Chad Burt, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Keith Savage, M Mike Ambersley, F Warren Ukah (Aaron King 64'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Shane Hill 82')
NSC Minnesota Stars lineup: GK Joe Warren, D Kyle Altman (Captain), D Justin Davis, D Cristiano Dias, D Chris Clements, M Lucas Rodriguez (Geison Moura 60'), M Andrei Gotsmanov, M Neil Hlavaty, M Ryan Woods (Amani Walker 73'), F Simone Bracalello, F Devin Del Do (Jeff Cosgriff 85')
FCTB: Mike Ambersley - 31st minute
FCTB: David Hayes - 43rd minute
FCTB: 11 Shots, 7 Saves, 3 Corner Kicks, 18 Fouls
MIN: 20 Shots, 6 Saves, 7 Corner Kicks, 7 Fouls