Friday, May 3, 2013
PLANT CITY, Fla. -- VSI Tampa Bay FC returned from an early deficit to take a 3-1 victory against Antigua Barracuda FC on Friday night at Plant City Stadium. Mauricio Salles scored a pair of second-half goals to lead Tampa Bay to victory after Antigua's Tamorley Thomas had given Antigua an early advantage.
The Barracudas entered the match with a late scratch as goalkeeper Corey Whisenhunt replaced Molvin James. They were able to take the lead in the seventh minute, however, as Thomas quickly redirected VSI goalkeeper Alex Horwath’s punch into the back of the net for Antigua's first goal of the season.
Tampa Bay’s Andriy Budnyy tried to return the favor two minutes later, but the goal was called back for offside. VSI continued to press, and came close to an equalizer in the 21st minute off a free kick, only for Whisenhunt to turn back two dangerous shots in succession by Douglas Dos Santos and Budnyy.
Antigua’s Thomas almost scored his second goal of the game off an ambitious shot in the 32nd minute from 45 yards out that went just over the crossbar, but Antigua was able to reach halftime with a 1-0 lead.
VSI was able to get back on level terms seven minutes into the second half, with Tony Dontelli finishing a header from Alex Freitas' cross. Budnyy was then denied again, the offside flag going up in the 55th minute as Tampa Bay looked to press home its advantage.
Tampa Bay was able to take the lead with just over 20 minutes to play as Salles blasted a ball into the back of the net soon after coming on as a substitute. As second-half stoppage time wound down, Salles added a second to put the game away, breaking through the Barracudas' defense before finishing. Antigua was then reduced to 10 men shortly before the final whistle, Alex Phillip being given a red card for a hard foul.