Rowdies Win Third Straight with 2-0 Victory Over Minnesota
The Rowdies extended their winning streak to a season-best three straight victories with a 2-0 victory over Minnesota Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium.
Forward Mike Ambersley gave the Rowdies a 1-0 lead in the 55th minute when he headed home a pass from midfielder Luke Mulholland. It marked Ambersley's third goal of the year.
Forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake added an insurance goal in the 88th minute, his team-leading fifth of the year, after a great through ball from midfielder Keith Savage. Yoshitake, who has earned NASL Offensive Player of the Week honors in each of the last two weeks, has now scored four goals in his last three matches after beating Minnesota goalkeeper Matt VanOekel into the bottom corner of the net. Savage now leads the team with four assists and has points in three straight games with one goal and two assists.
“We are glad to have the three points tonight since it was a tough game as it always is against Minnesota," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "I’m delighted with the effort from the players and very pleased with the team’s performance.”
Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made four saves to earn his third shutout this season and the eighth of his career.
“Our defense played really well tonight and a lot of the credit for the shutout tonight goes to the entire team,” said Attinella.
“During the second half, we were under pressure of long balls and crosses coming, but our defenders and our back four in particular, dealt with most of the situations extremely well," said Hill.
Each team had chances in the opening 45 minutes. The Rowdies first clear chance came in the 24th minute with midfielder Stuart Campbell‘s shot from outside the 18-yard box that was saved by VanOekel. Minnesota had their first chance of the match when midfielder Miguel Ibarra volleyed the ball from 25 yards out off the crossbar and out of play.
In the 29th minute Yoshitake received a long ball over the defense and his shot from just outside the 18-yard box was controlled by VanOekel. The Rowdies continued their momentum and got a great chance on goal in the 33rd minute when Yoshitake’s cross was redirected by Mulholland to Ambersley, whose header was sent out for a corner kick by VanOekel.
A minute later Minnesota came very close to scoring first on the counter attack when forward Simone Bracalello took a shot from the left side of the box which was cleared off the line by defender JP Rodrigues. The Rowdies had the last chance of the first half in the 38th minute, when Mulholland delivered a great set piece into Minnesota’s box. Defender Takuya Yamada powered a header on goal but VanOekel came up big with a save once again.
Following the halftime break, Tampa Bay continued to put pressure on the Stars, leading to Ambersley's header for the first goal of the match in the 55th minute.
The Rowdies continued to press for another score and in the 71st minute Rowdies forward Fafa Picault received a great through ball from Mulholland. VanOekel came up with a great save, keeping the match at 1-0. In the 78th minute, Mulholland had his chance when his shot from the right side of the 18-yard box hit off the left post and went out of play.
Yoshitake put the game away in the 88th with his goal, sealing the victory with a excellent finish.
“We took control early in the second half,” said Ambersley. “That was a huge part of the game and we shifted the momentum.”
Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak is its longest this season and the longest stretch of consecutive victories for the club since it posted three straight wins from May 22-29, 2010.
“We want to go on an unbeaten run as long as possible," said Ambersley. "Anytime you win three in a row, it's good, but you can’t sit back and be happy with it.”
Rowdies: Mike Ambersley - 55th minute (assisted by Luke Mulholland)
Rowdies: Tsuyoshi Yoshitake - 88th minute (assisted by Keith Savage)
Rowdies: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Daniel Scott, D Takuya Yamada , D JP Rodrigues, M Stuart Campbell (Shane Hill 45') , M Keith Savage, M Luke Mulholland, F Fafa Picault (Daniel Antoniuk 76'), F Mike Ambersley , F Tsuyoshi Yoshitake (Matt Clare 89')
Minnesota Stars FC: GK Matt VanOekel, D Justin Davis, D Kyle Altman (Captain), D Brian Kallman, D Connor Tobin, M Neil Hlavaty, M Kentaro Takada (Michael Reed 83'), M Kevin Venegas (Devin Del Do 76'), M Miguel Ibarra, F Martin Nunez (Fuad Ibrahim 67'), F Simone Bracalello