Tampa Bay Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has been named the North American Soccer League Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season and the fifth time in his career, the league announced on Monday.
A Clearwater native and graduate of the University of South Florida, Attinella came up big in rainy conditions with eight saves in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 victory at FC Edmonton on Sunday afternoon. The Rowdies played for more than half of the game with 10 men after forward Tsuyoshi Yoshitake was issued a red card in the 33rd minute. Attinella posted his fourth shutout in 2012 and the ninth of his career, helping the Rowdies to a victory on Luke Mulholland’s game-winner in the 89th minute.
Attinella captured the honor two weeks ago on July 2 following a shutout of Minnesota at home as well as earlier this season following Tampa Bay’s 3-1 victory over Ft. Lauderdale on April 28. The honor marks the seventh time a Tampa Bay player has received a weekly NASL offensive or defensive award, the most for any team in the league in 2012.
"The win yesterday was a huge team effort,” said Attinella. “I felt like our defense played really well and we all earned the shutout. Anytime you go down a man for the majority of the match and come out on top, it’s a credit to the entire side. I am thankful for the award and appreciate the recognition.”
Attinella, who has started all 17 games, ranks fifth in the league with a goals against average of 1.24 and ranks first in the NASL with 76 saves.
Tampa Bay now has victories in five of its last six matches and has moved into third place in the NASL standings, just one point behind second place Puerto Rico and two points behind league leaders San Antonio. The Rowdies host Puerto Rico this Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. Al Lang Stadium in downtown St. Petersburg. The first 500 fans will receive an official Rowdies tote bag, courtesy of Emetrol. For tickets, call 813-287-1539.