ATLANTA, Ga. (May 19, 2012) -- The Tampa Bay Rowdies knocked off the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-2 Saturday night at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, holding off a late rally from the home team. Forward Daniel Antoniuk scored two goals for Tampa Bay and forward Mike Ambersley added an important goal in the 79th minute that proved to the game-winner as the Rowdies captured their first road victory of the season.
"We are delighted to get back to our winning ways," said Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill. "It was one of those games where the next goal was going to be important. I am disappointed in us giving up another goal on a set piece, but all in all, I think we deserved the three points tonight."
The Rowdies jumped out to an early lead in the 12th minute as Antoniuk found the back of the net for the second straight game after a perfect pass over the top from midfielder Shane Hill. It marked the earliest score for the Rowdies this season.
Moments later, forward Matt Clare was in alone on goal, but his shot was deflected by Atlanta goalkeeper Daniel Illyes in the 18th minute. In the 30th minute, the Rowdies had two golden opportunities as Ambersley and Antoniuk both had point blank shots saved by Illyes. Ambersley then just missed wide to the far post from about eight yards out in the 33rd minute.
Antoniuk extended Tampa Bay's lead in the 37th minute after midfielder Keith Savage headed a pass to him inside the box for his team-high fourth goal of the season. Antoniuk beat Illyes for a 2-0 Rowdies lead, the first two-goal performance for Tampa Bay since Savage notched two goals in a 4-0 victory at Atlanta on August 6, 2011. The Rowdies dominated play in the first 45 minutes and have yet to allow a goal in the first half all season.
"Daniel did a great job finishing both of his goals and he was certainly rewarded for his excellent movement tonight," said Hill.
The Silverbacks cut the Rowdies lead in half in the 63rd minute, when second half substitute Shane Moroney headed a cross from Raphael Cox past Jeff Attinella.
Ambersley gave the Rowdies a 3-1 lead with a great individual effort inside the box, beating Illyes in the 79th minute for his second goal of the year. Moroney added his second of the game in the 89th minute, heading home a corner kick from Ciaran O'Brien, but the Rowdies prevented the Silverbacks from getting the tying score in the final minutes.
"Mike used a great individual effort to score a crucial goal for us," said Hill. "This is what good strikers do. Even though he didn't convert his chances earlier in the game, he focused on his next opportunities and his strong will and determination paid off in the end."
Up next, the Rowdies begin U.S. Open Cup play this Tuesday, May 22 when they travel to face Jacksonville United at Patton Park at 7:00 p.m. in the second round. With a victory, Tampa Bay would host Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids on Tuesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in the third round.