FC Tampa Bay came from behind to knock off FC Edmonton 2-1 Sunday afternoon at Foote Field in Edmonton, Alberta, with forward Mike Ambersley scoring the game-winner in the 71st minute. The win extends FC Tampa Bay's unbeaten streak to a season-high four games, dating back to its last loss nearly a month ago at Carolina. FCTB also snapped FC Edmonton's five-match unbeaten streak with the victory.
Assistant coach David Hayes took over the head coaching duties for the match in the absence of head coach Ricky Hill, who did not travel with the team because of a death in the family.
"We had a gameplan going in and wanted to push one of our forwards a little deeper," said Hayes. "Both Mike and Aaron (King) did a great job up front, and overall as a team we stayed compact and communicated well. The guys were really inspired to want to win for Ricky and his family. My heart goes out to Ricky and we missed him tonight."
FC Tampa Bay controlled the action early with forward Aaron King being denied by FC Edmonton goalkeeper Rein Baart from in close in the seventh minute. Moments later, midfielder Mozzi Gyorio took a free kick from just outside the box and Baart was forced to knock the shot over the crossbar.
Despite the pressure, FC Edmonton struck first as Kyle Porter scored his sixth goal of the season in the 19th minute for a 1-0 lead. The assist came from midfielder Ilja Van Leerdam, who was making his FC Edmonton debut.
Moments later, King almost tied the match when he hit the post in the 21st minute. Midfielder Justin Morrow, making his first appearance this year for FC Tampa Bay in league play, then had an opportunity in the 27th minute, thanks to a feed from Ambersley, but Baart was there again to make the save.
King finally evened the match at 1-1 with a goal in the 30th minute, his fourth of the season. King took advantage of a defensive mistake by FC Edmonton and buried the ball in the back of the net for his third goal in the last three league matches.
"We had a couple of chances early and put some great pressure on them," said King. "It was a team effort and this just shows the character of the guys in our locker room. We didn't give up and kept working and believing."
The match remained tied for the first 25 minutes of the second half until Ambersley gave FC Tampa Bay its first lead of the game in the 71st minute. The goal was his team-high eighth of the year and moved him into a tie with Puerto Rico's Jonathan Fana for second-best in the NASL.
FC Tampa Bay again played shorthanded, missing starters Chad Burt (foot), Pascal Millien (red card in last match) and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (hamstring), while midfielder Takuya Yamada (10 starts in 2011) was limited to 26 minutes off the bench as he returns from a groin injury.
FC Tampa Bay: GK Jeff Attinella, D Andres Arango, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Kwame Watson-Siriboe, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Keith Savage, M Justin Morrow (Matt Clare 59'), M Shane Hill (Takuya Yamada 64'), F Mike Ambersley, F Aaron King
FC Edmonton: GK Rein Baart, D Antonio Rago, D Paul Hamilton, D Niko Saler, D Chris Kooy (Captain), M Shaun Saiko, M Dominic Oppong (Conrad Smith 76'), M Ilja Van Leerdam (Chris Lemire 62'), F Kyle Yamada (Alex Semenets 66'), F Kyle Porter, F Daniel Antoniuk
FC Edmonton: Kyle Porter - 19th minute (assisted by Ilja Van Leerdam)
FCTB: Aaron King - 30th minute
FCTB: Mike Ambersley - 71st minute
FCTB: Frankie Sanfilippo - 33rd minute
FCTB: 9 shots (6 shots on goal), 3 saves, 12 fouls, 5 corners
FC Edmonton: 6 shots (4 shots on goal), 4 saves, 10 fouls, 5 corners