Orlando SeaWolves notch first victory with 12-7 win over Mississauga Metrostars

Tis the season to be jolly and Orlando SeaWolves and Mississauga Metrostars were in seasonal mood as they served up a goal feast at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee Saturday night.

The victory was the first in MASL franchise history for the SeaWolves and it seemed like every time one team or the other went forward they were gifted a goal. Former Orlando City USL midfielder Jonathan Mendoza (pictured below) was the primary recipient of the good cheer as he notched the first ever hat-trick for the men in blue as well as his first ever MASL goals as the crowd were entertained with some terrific soccer in the countdown to Christmas.

Luke Boden, Gordy Gurson, Edwin Rojas and Osvaldo Rojas added braces for the home side with Luis Mota getting the other goal.

It didn’t take the SeaWolves long to open the scoring as four minutes in, Boden held up the ball on the right side of the Mississauga zone before slipping it to the top of the area to Turner, who flicked it left for Mendoza to score. It was Mendoza’s first goal with the SeaWolves.

The game then exploded to life as the opening period closed in as Orlando scored four more times to take a 5-0 lead before conceding a goal late in the quarter. Luiz Mota scored his second goal of the year at the 9:31 mark to double the lead. Osvaldo Rojas made it 3-0 at 10:46 and Gurson’s breakaway score made it 4-0 at 11:40. It was Gurson’s second of the season and just 17 seconds later, Edwin Rojas joined his brother on the score sheet with his first Orlando goal to make it 5-0. Turner got his second assist of the night on the play.

The visitors then got on the scoresheet as Damion Graham’s strike beat Rainer Hauss in the SeaWolves goal with under three minutes left in the first period to give some hope to Mississauga. The MetroStars proved they weren’t done though as Josip Keran smashed home from outside the Orlando zone to beat Hauss and to cut the lead to 5-2 just 2:01 into the second quarter.

The MetroStars then scored against the run of play when Marco Rodriguez out-muscled Turner to win the ball as he cleverly used the wall for Graham to slot home and make it 5-3 at the 5:46 mark. Hauss then came up with a big save just as it looked like Joshua Paredes might make it 5-4 moments later but Orlando kept up the pressure with a spectacular Gurson scissor kick volley that shaved the near post.

Orlando then restored their three goal margin when Boden had a stroke of good fortune in an Orlando power play. Using the man advantage well, Orlando found Boden on the left hand side but his first two efforts on goal were well blocked by Sebastian Zeballos before the former Orlando City defender managed to squeeze the ball past the unfortunate keeper and into the net on the far post to make it 6-3 at the 10.41 mark.

The three-goal advantage didn’t last long however and the SeaWolves were made to pay for not being more clinical in front of goal as they carelessly gave the ball away when on the attack. The MetroStars broke well  and just as it looked as if Hauss had saved the day with good saves from efforts by former MLS All-Star Dwayne De Rosario and Martinho Dumevski, the ball rebounded kindly to Paredes who slotted home to make it 6-4 at 11:50.

Orlando took a 6-4 lead to the half time break, out-shooting the visitors, 20-16 (16-14 on target) in an enthralling 30 minutes of play but much more was to come.

Mendoza then gave Orlando another three goal lead at the 1:13 mark after Boden back-heeled a ball for Richard Schmermund to run onto along the right side.  The St. Louis native fired a shot that bounced off the end board nicely for Mendoza to volley home and make it 7-4.

Mississauga weren’t done though and yet again fought back as Gurson made an error in the corner of his own defensive end. The turnover found its way to Matthew Rios, who fed Marco Rodriguez for the goal to make it 7-5 at the 3:51 mark.

The visitors then earned a power play as Luke Boden was shown a blue card for using an elbow on an opponent but it was Orlando that produced a breakaway opportunity and Martinho Dumevski cynically  pulled back Mendoza to prevent a scoring chance as the speedy forward headed goalwards. Dumevski was sent to the sin bin as Gurson smashed home the resulting penalty to make it 8-5 and seconds later during the Orlando power play, Boden made the most of it by scoring his second goal of the night at the 7:17 mark from a Joshio Sandoval assist.

The MetroStars then managed to cut the lead to 9-6 with Graham’s third goal of the night as Mendoza turned the ball over and De Rosario fed the ball to Graham, who finished neatly for his hat trick. Mendoza made up for that mistake just 29 seconds later, taking a pass from Mota and completing his own hat trick, making the lead to 10-6. Edwin Rojas then made it 11-6 by glancing home a Gurson drive to give the SeaWolves a five goal lead at the three quarter mark.

The SeaWolves then tried to shut up shop and close the game down with some possession soccer in the final quarter but the visitors simply didn’t want to go away as Rodriguez scored his second goal of the game just 3:25 into the fourth to make it 11-7.

The home side then settled the game at the 6.50 mark as Gurson set up yet another goal when he picked out Osvaldo Rojas who calmly finished to make it 12-7 and conclude the scoring for the evening as Orlando secured their first franchise victory.

After the game, Orlando SeaWolves Head Coach Tom Traxler said of the victory : “It feels good, we’ve worked hard over the last two weeks and I felt in week one we were maybe a little unlucky, I felt we should have been a little bit better and I felt we were deserving of a win in the first game. Second game, Baltimore, always going to be a tough game, a great indoor team, and this one coming in, I felt like this was one we could win and we should win so at the end of the day I felt like the team has worked hard this week and gotten the result that they deserve.”

The SeaWolves now take to the road as they make the short journey to play the Florida Tropics next Saturday, 29th December at 7:05 p.m. at the RP Funding Center.

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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