Jeremy Ortiz became the first Rochester player to score three goals in a game this season. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
HENRIETTA, N.Y. — The Rochester Lancers enjoyed their best goal-scoring output of the Major Arena Soccer League season on Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the St. Louis Ambush.
Jeremy Ortiz became the first Lancer to record a hat-trick this season in the team’s 16-8 defeat at the Dome Arena.
Frankie Ciliberto and Michael Cunningham each tallied two goals apiece as Rochester (0-13) scored a season-high eight goals.
Oitomeia Souza paced the Ambush (7-8) with four goals and two assists.
The Ambush grabbed a 4-1 first-quarter lead, but Ciliberto, a former Churchville-Chili High School standout, stole the show with a highlight-worth goal, a spectacular bicycle kick at 8:36. Ciliberto, the son of former Rochester Flash player Frank Ciliberto, was set up by Alex Harling. With his back to the net just at the penalty spot, Ciliberto drilled the ball past goalkeeper Paulo Nascimento.
The visitors scored first on Mike Scharf’s goal at 3:05, followed by a Souza tally past keeper Brian Wilkin at 5:53. After Ciliberto’s goal, St. Louis restored its two-goal margin on a Diego Bobadilla score from the left side at 12:53 before Pablo Da Silva increased the lead with only three seconds remaining in the period.
The Lancers made it interesting in the second quarter, moving within 4-3 before the Ambush pulled away.
Cunningham took advantage of a St. Louis mistake by firing home an unassisted long-range goal at 3:37. Ortiz put in a rebound of a Ciliberto shot at 9:37, slicing the deficit to a goal. That seemed to wake up the Ambush, which tallied three consecutive goals — by Souza (10:02), Vadim Cojocov (power play at 12:00) and Duduca Carvalho (power play at 14:00) as Rochester went into the locker room with a 7-3 deficit.
The Ambush extended its lead in the third quarter on goals by striking for six goals for a 13-3 advantage.
The hosts, however, refused to give up. For the first time this season, Rochester connected for five goals in a quarter in the fourth period as the Lancers scored four consecutive goals, another first. Ciliberto (4:04) started the outburst, followed by scores from Jeremy Loncao, who scored his first goal of the year (4:04) and Cunningham (4:27) sandwiched their goals around tallies by Ortiz (3:56 and 12:18).
Rochester outscored St. Louis in the period, 5-3.
Wilkin suffered a thumb injury in the final quarter and was replaced by Marcelo Moreira.
The Lancers hit the road next weekend, visiting the Baltimore Blast on Saturday, Feb. 8 and then Utica City FC on Sunday, Feb. 9. Both games can be watched at MASL.tv.
They return home against Utica City FC on Friday, Feb. 21 and then play the Baltimore Blast on Saturday, Feb. 22. Both matches start at 7 p.m. Tickets are available through RLancers.com or at the Dome Arena on game day.