CARY, N.C. — Missing three starters, including leading goal scorer Mike Ambersley, FC Tampa Bay was shut out by NASL-leading Carolina 2-0 Saturday night.
Tampa Bay (9-8-7), which was outshot 20-7, held on to third place in the standings with 34 points, three ahead of Fort Lauderdale. It can clinch a playoff spot with a win Tuesday at Minnesota.
Six of the eight teams make the playoffs. Carolina (17-4-3) has already clinched a spot.
The teams played most of the second half with 10 players each after Carolina forward Etienne Barbara, the league's leading goal scorer with 20, and Tampa Bay defender Andres Arango were sent off on red cards in the 50th minute.
Carolina forward Pablo Campos scored both goals, in the 19th minute on a corner kick and in the 38th minute when he converted a pass from midfielder Brian Farber.
Ambersley (11 goals) sat out after receiving his fifth yellow card Aug. 27 against Fort Lauderdale. He had been the only player to appear in Tampa Bay's first 23 matches. The other starters out were injured, midfielder Pascal Millien and defender JP Rodrigues.