Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Sports

Rowdies trade Ambersley for offensive boost

TAMPA — Two days before restarting the NASL season with the fall campaign, the Rowdies completed a trade that could have far-reaching effects.

Tampa Bay traded playmaker Mike Ambersley to Minnesota United on Thursday for Maltese forward Etienne Barbara, a swap the Rowdies hope will result in more offensive firepower.

Barbara, 31, spent the spring season with Minnesota, appearing in seven matches (six starts) and scoring two goals.

In 2011 with Carolina, he was the NASL MVP after leading the league in goals (20) and assists (nine) and helping the RailHawks to the regular-season title. He moved up to MLS in 2012 to play for Vancouver but was limited by injuries and made just two appearances for the Whitecaps.

Barbara has also earned 32 caps for Malta's national team and scored three goals, including one during a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

"Etienne gives us another goal scorer," Rowdies defender and captain Frankie Sanfilippo said. "We saw what he could do while he was with Carolina. He can be a guy that creates opportunities and scores goals."

Ambersley, 30, signed before the 2011 season and made an immediate impact, leading the team that season in goals (11) and assists (seven) and being named to the NASL Best XI team. He followed with another solid year, with eight goals (second on Rowdies) and a team-high nine assists in 2012.

The St. Louis native missed much of the 2013 NASL spring season with a sprained MCL in his knee but scored two goals in 286 minutes.

"It's a shame we lost Mike," Sanfilippo said. "He's one of the reasons we won the title in 2012."

The Rowdies appear to be at full strength heading into Saturday's fall season opener at San Antonio, a welcome departure from the spring season opener when the team was missing a handful of regulars because of injury — Ambersley (knee), forward Carl Cort (calf), midfielder Keith Savage (meniscus tear) and defenseman Draymond Washington (knee).

The only person hobbling around practice this week is coach Ricky Hill, who had hip-replacement surgery during the monthlong break.

"I think the key for us will be the defensive element," Hill said. "Can we be consistent enough throughout the course of the season to give us a chance to stay in games and win games? If we don't concede or give away cheap goals, then I always think we're capable of creating opportunities with the personnel we have in the side."

The Rowdies are hoping their final two performances from the spring season will carry over. They defeated spring season champion Atlanta 2-1 before finishing with a 4-0 shutout of rival Fort Lauderdale.

"It was good for the guys to get away. I think their heads have been cleared a little bit," Hill said. "I think they've had time to reflect on the first part of the season and how disappointed they all were, the fact that we finished so close but still so far away."

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

Lightning angered by slash that has Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks

CHICAGO — The Lightning got more bad news Monday with wing Ondrej Palat out 6-8 weeks with a lower-body injury. It’s a big blow to a struggling Tampa Bay team, which is now without its top defense­man (Victor Hedman) and now arguably its best defensi...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Bucks fire Kidd in midst of slump

MILWAUKEE — The Bucks fired coach Jason Kidd on Monday amid a midseason slide that has left the playoff hopeful in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. It was a surprising end to Kidd’s three-plus season tenure in Milwaukee, when the Bucks made th...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Mrazek strong in goal again as Red Wings blank Devils

NEWARK, N.J. — Petr Mrazek had 37 saves in posting his second straight shutout and third of the season as the Red Wings beat the slumping Devils 3-0 on Monday night. Tyler Bertuzzi, David Booth and Dylan Larkin scored for the Red Wings, who snapped a...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballArkansas at Georgia6:30 p.m.SECProvidence at Villanova6:30 p.m.FS1Kansas at Oklahoma7 p.m.ESPNWisconsin at Iowa7 p.m.ESPN2Oklahoma State at Texas Tech7 p.m.ESPNewsVanderbilt at Tennessee7 p.m.ESPNUDavidson at Dayton7 p.m.CBSSNW...
Updated: 7 hours ago

MELBOURNE, Australia — Back-to-back shockers resulted in a most unexpected Australian Open men’s quarterfinal. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic and fifth-ranked Dominic Thiem lost within a few hours Monday, leaving Hyeon Chung and Tennys Sandgren pla...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blackhawks

Matt Peca and Michael Bournival likely won’t be the last callups by the Lightning the next month or so. There are plenty of other deserving candidates at AHL Syracuse, with Adam Erne likely getting a shot had he not been injured. With Ondrej Palat ou...
Updated: 7 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 8 hours ago

NHL All-Star Game Skills Competition gets some changes

Skills Competition gets a new lookThe NHL switched up its format for Saturday’s All-Star Game Skills Competition (7 p.m, NBSCN). There will be six events, including the traditional hardest shot, accuracy shooting, plus a passing challenge, puck contr...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Vikes’ Shurmur to lead Giants

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was hired as the Giants head coach Monday afternoon. The Giants announced the hiring less than 24 hours after Shurmur and the Vikings were beaten by the Eagles in the NFC title game. S...
Updated: 10 hours ago