By Michael Lewis
HENRIETTA, N.Y. – Memo to Major Arena Soccer League 2 teams:
Be wary of the Rochester Lancers, be very wary.
For the second time within 26 hours, the Lancers showed that they were for real with their second consecutive home win to kick off their return to indoor soccer Saturday.
The Lancers rolled to a 17-7 victory over the Cincinnati Swerve in front of another capacity crowd at the Dome Arena Saturday night. No, that was not a football score, but an arena futbol result, an emphatic one at that.
Rochester (2-0), which finds itself in first place in the Eastern Division, opened its season with a solid 7-3 win over the Detroit Waza Flo (1-3) Friday night.
What made the victory over Cincinnati (2-3) all the more rewarding was that the visitors entered the match averaging eight goals a game.
The Lancers last played in the MASL during the 2014-15 season.
Midfielder Gary Boughton (three assists) and England native Michael Cunningham led the way with hat-tricks as Boomer Stiegelman and Lubo Kocic each finished with two goals and an assist for Rochester, which had 10 players write their name on the scoresheet. Goalkeeper Marcelo Moreira recorded seven saves for his second win of the weekend in front of 2,500 spectators.
The Swerve’s Matthew Kinkopf led Cincinnati with a hat-trick of his own.
The visitors drew first blood on Christian Johnson’s goal at 3:16 of the opening quarter, Rochester responded with three successive goals — by Jeremy Ortiz and Cunningham (two) — and never looked back.
The Lancers widened their lead to 10-3 later in the second period as Kocic and Timothy Lazorko each provided two goals during that span.
Cincinnati, however struck twice within the final 50 seconds of the quarter — by Matthew Kinkopf and Matthew Breines (with one second remaining) — to pull within 10-5. Not surprisingly, those two late scores drew the ire of Rochester head coach Doug Miller at halftime.
In Friday night’s win over Detroit, the Lancers endured a third-period letdown and allowed the visiting side to come within striking distance. They demonstrated they learned from that experience.
First, Enrique tallied at 7:45. Barely two minutes later, Boughton set up Steigelman, who slid the ball home and Rochester was back on track with a 12-6 advantage.
Steigelman added his second 90 seconds into the four period.
The Lancers hit the road for the first time this M2 season, as they visit the Muskegon Risers Friday at 7 p.m. before meeting the Waza Flo Saturday at 5:50 p.m. They return home to host the Chicago Mustangs Feb. 1 and Detroit the next night. Both matches are set for 7 p.m.
During a post-game jersey auction of pink shirts worn by the team, the Lancers raised $3,500 for the Breast Cancer Coalition.