Late goal gives Rowdies 1-0 victory at FC Edmonton
The Tampa Bay Rowdies stunned FC Edmonton 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium on a goal by Luke Mulholland in the 89th minute. The Rowdies played for more than half of the game with 10 men after forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was issued a red card in the 33rd minute.
Tampa Bay now has victories in five of its last six matches and has moved into third place in the NASL standings, just one point behind second place Puerto Rico and two points behind league leaders San Antonio. Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made eight saves to post his fourth shutout in 2012 and the ninth of his career.
"It was a great win today and I am really pleased for our entire team," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I felt we had enough in us to score a goal even though we were down to 10 men. It was a fantastic result and I am proud of the guys."
The Rowdies applied early pressure on FC Edmonton, with forward Matt Clare and defender Takuya Yamada each missing wide of the goal on individual opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the match.
FC Edmonton had its best chance in the 19th minute when midfielder Shaun Saiko found himself one on one with Attinella. Saiko tried to chip the ball, but Attinella deflected the ball. Saiko then passed to Michael Cox, whose shot was saved by Attinella. Attinella had an excellent first half, notching five total saves for the Rowdies.
The match changed in the 33rd minute when Yoshitake was issued a red card after he and FC Edmonton defender Kevin Hatchi collided near the sideline. Tampa Bay was forced to play a man down for the first time this season.
Tampa Bay controlled much of the possession in the first half and had numerous scoring chances. The Rowdies took nine corner kicks as well as several other free kicks in the first 45 minutes.
The teams went back and forth in the second half on a very slick pitch. Despite playing a man down, the Rowdies were able to generate some pressure on FC Edmonton. At the other end, Attinella continued his strong performance, earning his second shutout in as many games against FC Edmonton this season.
Tampa Bay finally broke through in the 89th minute as Mulholland notched the game-winner after a cross from Ambersley. Second half sub Shane Hill dropped the ball to Ambersley in open space down the left side, leading to the pass to Mulholland, who one-timed the ball in the bottom corner of the net.
"Mike sent a perfect pass to me and I was able to volley it across the goal into the far corner," said Mulholland. "I was very happy with the goal and thrilled for our team to get this win. After Yoshi was sent off, we knew we had to work hard and work sensibly. The boys had a great desire to get the result today."
It was Mulholland's third goal of the year and the assist gave Ambersley points in four straight matches with two goals and three assists during that span, including an assist in his third consecutive game.
"It was an excellently created goal," said Hill. "Shane found Mike down the left sideline and he hit a great cross with his left foot over the last defender to Luke, who finished it superbly."
Rowdies - Luke Mulholland - 89th minute (assisted by Mike Ambersley)
FC Edmonton: GK John Smits, D Antonio Rago, D Chris Kooy (Captain), D Jonathan Joseph-Augustin, D Kevin Hatchi, M Bryan Arguez, M Ilja van Leerdam (Matt Lam 61'), M Kenny Caceros (Kyle Porter 71'), M Shaun Saiko, F Michael Cox (Serisay Barthelemy 85'), F Yashir Pinto
Rowdies: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D JP Rodrigues, D Daniel Scott, D Takuya Yamada, M Stuart Campbell, M Luke Mulholland, M Keith Savage (Shane Hill 75'), F Mike Ambersley, F Matt Clare (Daniel Antoniuk 75'), F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake