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Orlando SeaWolves Sloppy in 8-5 Home Loss to Florida Tropics

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SeaWolves fall to 0-2 on the MASL season.

Nigel G. Worrall / Orlando SeaWolves

The Orlando SeaWolves (0-2) remain winless on the young MASL season after losing their second straight home game against the rival Florida Tropics 8-5 tonight at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. Orlando led 2-1 and 3-2 but then allowed the Tropics (2-0) to go on a six-goal run to take control of the match before adding two late cosmetic goals.

The SeaWolves, who had been defensively sound and fairly disciplined in their first match-up with the Tropics, were the exact opposite in Game 2, committing silly fouls, taking penalties, and being generally porous on the defensive end.

The Tropics wasted no time jumping on top just 1:21 into the match. Luiz Mota, who for some reason goes by the name “Naka” now, turned the ball over in his own end and Ricardinho punished the SeaWolves by firing home past Piotr Sliwa to make it 1-0.

It didn’t take much time for Orlando to respond. Richard Schmermund threaded a ball through to spring Mike Da Silva who smashed home his first MASL goal at the 3:26 mark to knot things up at 1-1.

After the goal, the game settled into a bit of a defensive battle for a while, but the Tropics went on the power play after Da Silva took a foolish blue card. Orlando was able to kill off the penalty but during the disadvantage Schmermund picked up a yellow card for arguing with the referee after a foul call and he had to sit for the next five minutes. It didn’t give Florida a power play but it did deprive the SeaWolves of their best defender.

The SeaWolves seemed content to stay behind the ball a bit and look for opportunities to slip in behind. That strategy finally worked in the final minute of the period, when Jonny Mendoza got in down the right and smacked either a shot or a pass off the boards and Da Silva bundled it home to give Orlando a 2-1 lead after the first period.

The Tropics came out strong to start the second half, pinning Orlando in their own end for the first couple of minutes. The pressure paid off for Florida, although it was on a fairly innocent play. Eduardo Cruz sent too soft a pass across the field to Naka, who waited on it rather than stepping toward the slow roller, despite having a defender nearby. This enabled Florida to make an easy steal and Naka took a foul to deny a breakaway and a penalty kick was awarded. Victor Parreiras had no trouble beating Sliwa on the penalty, going high and tying the game at 2-2 just 4:15 into the second.

Orlando regained the lead less than three minutes later when Schmermund smashed a free kick through goalkeeper Hugo Silva.

But the Tropics owned the end of the period and took the lead before halftime. Sliwa made a few good saves and former Orlando player Stefan Mijatovic fired one off the glass above Sliwa’s goal. At the other end, the SeaWolves had a decent flurry of chances but didn’t test Silva much. Eventually the SeaWolves handed Florida another scoring chance with another discipline breakdown. Schmermund took an unnecessary foul in his defensive end against an offensive player along the boards with his back to goal. The Tropics scored off the pressure they applied on the ensuing set piece opportunity, with Zach Reget turning and firing past Sliwa to make it 3-3 with four minutes left in the half.

Reget then scored again with just 20 seconds remaining in the half when Orlando failed on a chance to clear the defensive zone and the Tropics took a 4-3 lead into the break. Florida held a 9-5 advantage in shots on goal.

Ricardo Carvalho made it 5-3 just after the restart. A soft shot found its way inside Sliwa’s near post. The goalkeeper might have been screened but the weak shot should never have found its way in just 1:56 into the period. Matt Clare added another goal before the end of the third and the Tropics held a 6-3 advantage entering the final period.

Antonio Manfut and Clare’s second extended the Tropics’ lead to 8-3 by the 5:46 mark of the fourth and the game was pretty much over. The SeaWolves had missed a couple opportunities to take advantage of some Florida mistakes, failing to get a shot off when Silva had strayed up field and left his net empty, and also missing a wide open net on an Omar Tapia shot. The latter miss was particularly costly as Clare’s second goal came just seconds after Tapia’s shot caught the boards rather than the net.

Orlando added a couple of late goals, finally taking advantage of one of Florida’s few mistakes. A careless turnover in the defensive zone gave Naka the ball in front of goal and he fired home to make it 8-4 with 6:31 to play.

Odane Sinclair added another goal with 1:26 to play to make the score look more respectable.

But it wasn’t a good game for the SeaWolves. The Tropics dominated — largely by capitalizing on Orlando’s mistakes. Both teams finished with 13 shots on goal, but the Tropics had a lot more attempts that just missed the target, particularly finding the small strip of Plexiglass above the goal, which is new this season. Florida went 1/3 on the power play, while the SeaWolves went 0/1. Sinclair’s goal came just one second after Orlando’s lone power play expired.

The SeaWolves will be back in action Saturday night on the road against the Baltimore Blast at 6:05 p.m.