Everything finally seemed to click for FC Tampa Bay Saturday night as they finally added to their win tally (and their rapture-survival tally) with a 3-0 performance against the Montreal Impact.
The first 30 minutes of the game were fairly evenly played by both sides. Tampa Bay’s Yoshitake did generate a number of chances and was constantly putting himself in position to trouble Montreal’s defense.
Head coach Ricky Hill has spoken about the team’s inconsistency, and in an apparent effort to generate more offense, he started 3 forwards in this game: Warren Ukah, Mike Ambersley, and Tsuyoshi Yoshitake. The added offensive oomph made its mark in the 40th minute.
The first score of the game would validate Ricky Hill’s decision to keep putting Ukah’s name in the starting lineup. On a cross from defender (and part-time assistant coach) David Hayes, Ukah blasted a shot past Montreal keeper Bill Gaudette to give the home team the lead.
FC Tampa Bay would continue to put pressure on the Montreal defense and appeared to score twice more before the half ended, however each time the goal was disallowed due to offside decisions by the linesman.
In the second half Ralph’s Mob spent a good amount of time cheering the name of Jeff Attinella, who really earned the shutout with some fine saves in just his third professional match. On the couple of occasions where he came off of his line and wasn’t able to get the ball, the Tampa Bay defense stood strong and made key clearances.
In the 74th minute a Montreal defender appeared to handle the ball on a point-blank shot from defender Omar Jarun in the Montreal box and was sent off straight away with a red card. Mike Ambersley would take the resulting penalty kick and slot it home giving his team a 2-0 advantage.
The final tally for FC Tampa Bay would come courtesy of a mistake from the Impact’s Gaudette. A ball off of the foot of Chad Burt sneaked under his arms and Yoshitake was able to get to it quickly and keep the play in bounds. He would take a dribble or two, and slot his shot in from an acute angle before the Montreal defense could recover, finishing off what was a much-needed win for Tampa Bay in the 84th minute.
If only they could play Montreal every week, as FC Tampa Bay is 2-1-0 against them and 0-2-2 against all other competition this season. For their next match the club will travel north to challenge the NSC Minnesota Stars next Saturday at 7:00. That game will be broadcast live on FCTampaBay.com.