Matt D’Amico recorded assists on all three goals for the Lancers. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — The Rochester Lancers got off to their strongest start of the Major Arena Soccer League season but could not hold off the surging Milwaukee Wave on Saturday night.
Forward Ian Bennett scored four goals to lead the defending champions to a 15-3 victory over the Lancers at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
Andrew Wiedabach and Chad Vandegriffe added two goals each for Milwaukee (8-3).
Diego Mayanga, Daniel Reger and Anthony Rozzano scored for the Lancers (0-10). Rookie Matt D’Amico became the first Rochester player to register three assists in a game this season.
The Lancers played by far their best quarter of the season in the opening 15 minutes. They played a disciplined game, using three defenders in the back who were well positioned while trying for quick counterattacks. It paid off as they walked out of the period with a 1-0 lead, the first time they scored the first goal of a match and the first time they enjoyed a lead.
Their goal came at 10:46 when Diego Mayanga ripped a shot from the left side past goalkeeper Matt Eisold for his second goal this campaign. Matt D’Amico was credited with the assist.
Goalkeeper Brian Wilkin was superb in the first quarter, making several key saves to keep the Wave off the scoreboard.
Milwaukee, however, broke through with five unanswered goals in the second quarter before the Lancers found the net again.
The Wave was awarded a shootout when Wilkin was assessed a blue card for a reckless tackle while fouling Mikey Herrera in the box at 5:05. Max Ferdinand started the play, sliding a pass to Bennett, who tallied from the left side past a diving Wilkin to knot things up at 1-1 at 5:10. The Wave took the lead for good at 6:32 when Guilherme Veiga’s shot from the right side deflected off Alex Harling into the net.
Bennett added his second goal as he lifted the ball over Wilkin from the right side at 7:08. Wiedabach connected off a rebound after a save at 11:43 and Vandegriffe duplicated his feat at 13:05 for a 5-1 margin.
Daniel Reger gave the visitors something to smile about entering the locker room as he scored off a looping shot from the right corner with 39.1 seconds remaining in the half, cutting the deficit to 5-2.
The Lancers could not take that momentum into the second half. Wiedabach scored his second, powering home a shot from the left side into the far-right corner at 4:15 past keeper Christian Esposito, who replaced Wilkin (13 saves) at the half. Rozzano’s fourth goal of the season closed the gap to 6-3 at 7:42, but Bennett got his hat-trick at 9:48 and Isaac Pereyra scored at 10:26.
Seven Wave players scored in the fourth quarter — Vandegriffe, Marcio Leite, Luan Oliveira, Dani Morillo, Bennett, Angel Curiel and Ali Barry.
Rochester won’t have much time to recover as the team visits the Kansas Comets in Kansas City, Mo. on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET. Fans can watch that match on MASL.TV.
The Lancers return home to meet the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. on Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. At halftime, 20 individuals will be inducted as the inaugural class of the Lancers indoor Wall of Fame. They welcome the St. Louis Ambush on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. ET.