Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rowdies finally solve Puerto Rico, win 2-0

ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay had anticipated another crack at Puerto Rico since a June 9 loss to the Islanders, the only team in the NASL the Rowdies hadn't collected points against entering Saturday's game.

The Rowdies had to wait an extra hour and 23 minutes because of a thunderstorm over Al Lang Field.

And like previous matchups, Tampa Bay controlled the majority of possessions and sent several well-struck shots at Puerto Rico goalkeeper Richard Martin.

But unlike prior meetings, the Rowdies finally penetrated the goal. Captain Frankie Sanfilippo produced the first score in the 72nd minute and Mike Ambersley added another score in the 85th in a 2-0 Rowdies victory in front of 3,207.

Tampa Bay (9-6-3, 30 points) moved into second place in the league, two points behind San Antonio, which defeated Fort Lauderdale 1-0 Saturday.

"It's great to beat Puerto Rico," coach Ricky Hill said. "It's great to beat any team in this league. Three points are valuable, we realize that. Puerto Rico is a top side, and they've proven that for many years. We're happy to win on this occasion."

Sanfilippo's winner came after both teams struggled to find scoring opportunities early in the second half. Ambersley gathered a loose ball in the Islanders' half and crossed into the box toward the far post. Sanfilippo, charging hard toward the goal, ran under the pass and volleyed a right-footer past Martin.

"My eyes just lit up, and I one-timed it," Sanfilippo said of his first goal of the season. "As a defender you don't get that many opportunities to score."

The Rowdies put the game away with Ambersley's fifth goal of the season. Second-half substitute Fafa Picault crossed a pass to a wide open Ambersley. With Martin scrambling to get back in goal, Ambersley rolled a shot into the back of the net.

Tampa Bay hadn't beaten the Islanders since their first-ever meeting, May 29, 2010 at Steinbrenner Field. The Rowdies have won six of their past seven overall and four straight at Al Lang.

Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, a former USF and Countryside High standout, had two saves, both in the first half, to earn his fifth shutout of the season and second in two games.

Puerto Rico was missing starting forwards David Foley and leading scorer Nicholas Addlery because of injury. The Rowdies were without leading scorer Tsuyoshi Yoshitake because of a red-card suspension.

Tampa Bay Rowdies finally solve Puerto Rico, win 2-0 07/21/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:02am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  2. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  3. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17


    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  4. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  5. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]