FC Tampa Bay scored a season-high four goals as it defeated the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 4-2 Monday night at Al Lang Stadium as part of Light Up The Bay 7.4.
"I'm grateful that we could give our fans a victory on the Fourth of July," said FC Tampa Bay head coach Ricky Hill. "Our team showed great character tonight."
FC Tampa Bay took the early lead when defender Andres Arango headed in a corner kick from midfielder Pascal Millien in the 15th minute. It marked Arango's first goal of the season and Millien's second assist in 2011.
The match was suspended in the 31st minute due to inclement weather with FC Tampa Bay holding a 1-0 lead, but
The Strikers tied the match following a yellow card to FCTB defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe in the 37th minute. Ft. Lauderdale was awarded a penalty kick, which midfielder Eduardo Coudet converted to tie the score at 1-1 in the 38th minute.
FC Tampa Bay regained the lead in the 55th minute as Millien scored his second of the year, with the assist to Tsuyoshi Yoshitake. FCTB extended its cushion to 3-1 when Millien assisted on Aaron King's second goal this season in the 63rd minute.
"Today I thank God for giving me a great game and I give the team the credit for our performance tonight," said Millien, who had a hand in three of the four goals on the evening.
After the Strikers cut the lead to 3-2 on a goal by Mike Palacio in the 68th minute, FC Tampa Bay responded moments later when forward Mike Ambersley notched his team-high seventh goal of the year in the 71st minute. The goal was assisted by King and gave FCTB a 4-2 lead that it would not relinquish.
FC Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella had nine saves in the match to help FC Tampa Bay win its second straight win at home and snap Ft. Lauderdale's seven-match unbeaten streak.
"It feeds into it when we have a good crowd that's cheering for us and behind us all game long," said Attinella.
The match ended just in time for the fans to enjoy the City of St. Petersburg’s Fireworks display from the outfield at Al Lang Stadium.
FC Tampa Bay returns to action this Saturday, July 9 at 8:05 p.m. when it travels to Puerto Rico to take on the Islanders.
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D Kwame Watson-Siriboe, D JP Rodrigues, M Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Warren Ukah 80'), M Pascal Millien, M Gyorio, M Keith Savage, F Aaron King (Shane Hill 88'), F Mike Ambersley (Matt Clare 90')
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers Lineup: GK Matt Glaeser, D Aaron Hohlbein (Captain), D Cristian Arrieta, D Martyn Lancaster (Bryan Arguez 77'), M Toni Stahl, M Lance Laing, M Mike Palacio, M Martin Nuñez (Grant Kerr 68'), M Eduardo Coudet, F Abe Thompson, F David Santamaria (Brian Shriver 61')
FCTB: Andres Arango - 15th minute (assisted by Pascal Millien)
FTL: Eduardo Coudet - 38th minute - penalty kick
FCTB: Pascal Millien - 55th minute (assisted by Tsuyoshi Yoshitake)
FCTB: Aaron King - 63rd minute (assisted by Pascal Millien)
FTL: Mike Palacio - 68th minute (assisted by Eduardo Coudet)
FCTB: Mike Ambersley - 71st minute (assisted by Aaron King)
FCTB: Kwame Watson-Siriboe - 37th minute
FCTB: Andres Arango - 59th minute
FCTB: 16 shots (11 shots on goal), 9 saves, 8 fouls, 7 corners
FTL: 21 shots (11 shots on goal), 8 saves, 7 fouls, 5 corners