ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 4, 2012) -- The Rowdies won their fourth straight game with a 3-1 victory over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at Al Lang Stadium Wednesday night. Forwards Mike Ambersley and Daniel Antoniuk led the way with a goal and an assist each, and forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake scored for the fourth consecutive game in the victory.
Tampa Bay's four consecutive victories marks the longest winning streak for the club since its return in 2010. The win came in front of 4,710 fans, the largest crowd at home over the last two seasons at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies wrapped up a perfect three-game homestand with three victories and improved their record at home this season to 5-2-1 (W-T-L).
"It is huge for us and obviously for our confidence when you beat three good sides at home in a row," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "It's excellent for the players and the whole squad. We're very happy at this moment in time."
"We showed great character coming back from a goal down," said Ambersley. "It wasn't the first time we’ve done that this this year and we have a lot of hard working players. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy playing Saturday and then Wednesday but we showed a lot of heart and I’m proud of the guys."
Tampa Bay appeared to strike first in the ninth minute. Midfielder Luke Mulholland placed a perfect corner kick onto the head of forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who headed the ball into the back of the net. But Yoshitake was called for a foul and the goal was disallowed.
Ft. Lauderdale took the lead in the 19th minute when forward Andy Herron scored his fifth goal of the year, with midfielder Walter Restrepo earning his sixth assist.
Ambersley tied the match in the 30th minute with his fourth goal of the season and second in as many games. Ambersley received a great low cross from the left end line from forward Fafa Picault. Ambersley controlled the ball just outside the six-yard box and placed the ball in the bottom right corner of the goal.
In the 67th minute the Rowdies took their first lead of the match as Yoshitake blasted a volley from just outside the 18-yard box off the left post and in for a 2-1 lead. Second half sub Antoniuk placed a great ball through the Strikers defense and left Yoshitake one-on-one with Ft. Lauderdale goalkeeper Matt Glaeser. It marked the fourth straight game with a goal for Yoshitake, including his fifth goal during that span.
“I’m so thrilled to have scored in four games in a row and a total of five goals," said Yoshitake. "I appreciate that my teammates have been supporting me and they always help me. They make it really easy for me to score these goals.”
Antoniuk put the game away in the 85th minute with his fifth goal of the season, with Ambersley getting the assist. Ambersley now has 14 points on five goals and four assists in his last seven matches against the Strikers.
"This is another huge win for us," said Ambersley. "We wanted to wrap up this homestand and go into this upcoming stretch with a good taste in our mouth. To do that we needed to come out and fight and get three points tonight."