Sunday, April 21, 2013
PLANT CITY, Fla. – VSI Tampa Bay FC took its second consecutive victory with a 3-2 win against the Los Angeles Blues on Sunday night at Plant City Stadium. Andriy Budnyy scored the decisive goal after coming on as a second-half substitute in a back-and-forth contest.
Tampa Bay had slightly the better of a balanced opening 15 minutes, with Douglas Dos Santos heading wide under pressure in the eighth minute. Karamba Janneh also had an opportunity, but his shot from the top of the penalty area went straight at Blues goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski for a simple save. Woszczynski was also on hand to deny Mauricio Salles in the 21st minute, smothering a low free kick that curled around the wall.
The Blues were able to create chances of their own, and they took the lead in the 24th minute as Gabriel Gonzalez created space to cross on the right side and found George Davis IV, who headed home at the back post for his third goal of the season. Tampa Bay answered immediately, however, with Shawn Chin cutting in from the left before pulling a shot into the left corner of the net from 20 yards.
The game was delayed for an hour at the halftime break after a lightning strike, and Salles went close from a free kick in the 49th minute as his shot went just over the crossbar. Tony Donatelli also went close, forcing Woszczynski to tip his shot around the post. The pressure paid off on the ensuing corner, as the Blues half-cleared to Donatelli, who floated an angled cross back into the penalty area for Sean Reynolds to head home.
The Blues got back on even terms on the hour-mark as Shay Spitz found space on the left, and his cross was turned into the net by a Tampa Bay defender. The Blues then came close to retaking the lead through Davis four minutes later, only for the striker to be adjudged to have handled to control as he broke in on goal.
Tampa Bay regained the lead with just over 15 minutes to go as a fine pass slipped Dos Santos into the center of the penalty area. Woszczynski was able to make the initial save, but Dos Santos was able to control the rebound, and centered to Budnyy, whose shot found its way past three Blues defenders from nine yards.
Los Angeles had a chance to tie the game with eight minutes to play, a good low cross by James Turner being met by Chris Cortez, only for VSI goalkeeper Alex Horwath to parry and then clear to safety. Rodrigo Lopez almost set up a chance for Cortez moments later, but his cross was just too far in front of the striker to connect in front of goal. Tampa Bay would hold on in the closing stages, however, to take their complete a season-sweep of its two games against Los Angeles.
Tampa Bay remains at home next Friday as the Dayton Dutch Lions visit Plant City Stadium at 8 p.m. ET. The Blues also return to action on Friday as they host the Wilmington Hammerheads at Titan Stadium at 10:30 p.m. ET.