OT doesn’t pay off for SeaWolves in MASL debut
KISSIMMEE — Playing in their inaugural game of the Major Arena Soccer League season, the Orlando SeaWolves couldn’t finish on top after a shootout.
The match was tied 4-4 at the end of regulation and remained tied in overtime before the St. Louis Ambush defeated the SeaWolves 5-4 (2-1 via shootout) Friday night at the Silver Spurs Arena.
“From a character standpoint, I’m really proud of the players,” SeaWolves head coach Tom Traxler said. “I’m really proud of the leadership that they showed inside the group. No, it’s not the result we wanted. We have some things we have to clean up as well, but we’ll get to work on that on Monday.”
Gordy Gurson had a chance to tie the game for the SeaWolves during the shootout, but Ambush goalkeeper Casey Clark stopped Gurson’s shot to secure the win.
Mario Marcos opened the scoring, giving the Ambush a 1-0 lead 8:10 into the first quarter. Luke Boden scored the equalizer 1:23 into the second quarter after a ball from Gurson hit off the board and bounced to Boden, allowing him to strike from close range.
The Ambush retook the lead 6:11 into the second quarter following a SeaWolves turnover. Marcos connected with Antonio Manfut, who pounced on an unguarded goal for a 2-1 advantage. Marcos scored his second goal of the game and increased St. Louis’ lead to 11:57 into the second quarter.
Gurson, who suffered a knock on his knee early in the second quarter, scored from a tight angle to reduce St. Louis’ lead and bag Orlando’s second goal of the night.
“Main positive for take back (is when) us to we’re down 3-1, we could’ve just rolled over and (it) could’ve gotten ugly,” Gurson said. “We’re at home; we had the mentality that it’s our house. The crowd got behind us, we ended up coming back. [It’s] just unfortunate to lose in a shootout.”
SeaWolves goalkeeper Piotra Sliwa left the game 11:57 into the second quarter and was replaced by Rainer Hauss. According to a SeaWolves spokesperson, Sliwa suffered a hamstring injury.
Lewis Neal tied the game for Orlando 2:38 into the fourth quarter before Jerjer Gibson gave the Ambush the lead again moments later. Orlando’s Dylan Hundelt forged another tie 10:43 into the fourth quarter.
Following Orlando’s 3-2 overtime friendly win against the Brazilian national Minifootball team earlier this month, Traxler said the team needed to improve on the power play. The SeaWolves followed suit, scoring three of their four goals on the power play.
“I think the movement of the ball was good,” Traxler said. “We got inside their diamond, we got inside their block and caused them problems all night long on the power play.
“Usually, if you can score that many times on the power play, you walk away successful. Tonight we didn’t, so that’s one thing we don’t need to toy with.”
The SeaWolves host the Baltimore Blast on Dec. 14 at the Silver Spurs Arena at 7:35 p.m.
Orlando’s Lewis Neal, left, and Luke Boden try to reach a loose ball ahead of a St. Louis Ambush player during Friday night’s game. The SeaWolves rallied to force overtime but eventually lost their inaugural MASL contest in a shootout.