BLAINE, Minn. — FC Tampa Bay, in its second season, clinched a spot in the NASL playoffs for the first time Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory at Minnesota.
Midfielder Mozzi Gyorio scored the winner at NSC Stadium on a free kick in the 72nd minute as Tampa Bay (10-8-7) improved to 7-2-3 in its past 12 league matches.
Gyorio's kick, his second goal of the season, deflected into the net off the post.
Minnesota (7-10-8) tied it in the 51st minute on a header by Brian Kallman.
Tampa Bay led 1-0 at halftime on midfielder Keith Savage's headed goal in the 22nd minute. Forward Aaron King had an assist, his fifth of the season, tying for the team lead with Mike Ambersley.
The game marked the season debut of Tampa Bay's Jeremy Christie, who made his return after missing nearly a year after hip surgery. Christie, who played midfield last season, was a defender Tuesday.
Another player returning for Tampa Bay was leading scorer Ambersley (11 goals), who had sat out Saturday's loss to Carolina because he had accumulated five yellow cards.
Six of the NASL's eight teams make the playoffs; the top two teams get first-round byes. The third seed hosts the sixth in a single game and the No. 4 seed hosts No. 5 with the winners reaching the home-and-home semifinals.
Tampa Bay trails second-place Puerto Rico by eight points with three matches remaining.