TROPICS CLINCH #1 SEED WITH 7-5 WIN OVER TACOMA
ONTARIO, CA. – The Stars (3-6) playing in their first of three games in four days and came up short against the Florida Tropics (10-3), who clinched the number one seed headed to the playoffs with their win tonight. With the loss, the Stars can finish no higher than fifth seed with the playoffs two weeks away.
The Tropics started the scoring less than a minute into the contest when Ian Bennett stole a pass in the Stars’ defensive zone and sent it past Tacoma keeper Chris Toth for a quick 1-0 lead and it stood as the only goal of the first quarter.
The Stars got the equalizer off the foot of Nick Perera who turned to his right at the yellow line and fired it past Hugo Silva to make it 1-1 with 11:27 to go in the half. After a Tropics goal from Antonio Manfut, Perera scored again, this time off a restart for his 7th goal of the season to make it a 2-2 game with 4:00 left in the half.
As it turned out, four minutes would be enough for each team to score again starting with Florida’s VcMor Eligwe who finished the night with three goals. The final goal of the half came off a pass from Perera to Douglas Lima at the top of the box for his 3rd of the season and the first 30 minutes of play ended in a 3-3 tie.
As the Tropics got the only goal of the first quarter, they also netted the only two markers of the third quarter, first came the second of the game from Eligwe followed by the second from Bennett to take a 5-3 lead into the final quarter.
Florida took their a three-goal lead on a power play goal from Ricardo Carvalho following a blue card to Tacoma’s Lima for tripping. The Tropics stretched that advantage to four goals on Eligwe’s third of the night putting the Stars down 7-3 with 6:59 left to play.
Jamael Cox donned the 6th attacker jersey for Tacoma and responded with a goal from outside the yellow line to cut Florida’s lead to three with 3:42 on the clock. Perera, who finished with five points in the game, fed the ball to Alex Caceres on the right side with just over two minutes to go. Caceres fired a shot and Silva sent the rebound straight back to him. Caceres did not miss on the second attempt and picked up his first goal of the season to make it a 7-5 final.
The Tropics concluded their 2021 schedule with tonight’s game while the Stars will play the Ontario Fury tomorrow and then wrap up their regular season Sunday against the San Diego Sockers at Toyota Arena.
1st – FLA Bennett 0:53. Penalties – None.
2nd – TAC Perera 3:33; FLA Manfut 8:48; TAC Perera 11:00; FLA Eligwe (Bennett) 12:04; TAC Lima (Perera) 13:10. Penalties – None.
3rd – FLA Eligwe (Vandegriffe) 10:48; FLA Bennett (Eligwe) 14:49. Penalties – None.
4th – FLA Carvalho (Montelares) PP 4:16; FLA Eligwe 8:01; TAC Cox (Perera) 11:18; TAC Caceres (Perera) 12:38. Penalties – TAC Lima blue card (tripping) 2:30.
Shots – Tacoma 4-6-6-8 (24), Florida 3-12-7-7 (29)
Quick turn-around for the Stars as they will battle the host Ontario Fury tomorrow night at 6 pm PST. On Sunday March 14, the Stars will conclude their regular season schedule against the San Diego Sockers at 3 pm PST. Watch every game live at https://www.facebook.com/MASLsoccer/events
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