Michael Cunningham scored Rochester’s first goal. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
LAKELAND, Fla. — The Florida Tropics broke open a close game with six successive goals in the second quarter to record a 14-3 victory over the Rochester Lancers in Major Arena Soccer League action at RP Funding Center on Saturday evening.
Zach Reget paced the Eastern Division leading Tropics (14-1), who won their ninth game in a row, with two goals and three assists. Victor Parreiras became the Tropics’ all-time leading scorer with 100 points on the strength of his one goal and one assist.
Michael Cunningham, David Wright and Anthony Rozzano found the net for Rochester (0-16).
The Lancers played without three regulars — veterans and co-captains Gary Boughton and Jeremy Ortiz — and goalkeeper Brian Wilkin, who needed emergency surgery on his esophagus on Friday.
Florida grabbed a 2-0 first-quarter lead. Former Rochester Rhino and Lancer Antonio Manfut put the hosts on the scoreboard at 8:04 when he converted a 3-on-2 break on the right off an Anthony Arico feed. Lucio Gonzaga doubled the margin at 14:04 as he put home a Reget pass on the left wing past goalkeeper Christian Esposito.
Cunningham sliced the lead in half as he made good on a 3-on-2 break on the left side of the penalty area for his seventh goal of the season at 1:35 of the second period past keeper Hugo Silva. But then the Tropics busted the game open with six unanswered goals to take an 8-1 halftime lead.
Drew Ruggles, off a Gordy Gurson assist, tallied a power-play goal at 2:31 after Diego Mayanga was assessed a two-minute penalty for contact above the shoulder. Less than three minutes later, Ruggles scored his second consecutive goal, nodding in a Manfut shot with his back to the goal at 5:46 and a 4-1 lead.
The Tropics closed out the quarter with four goals within a 4:07 span behind Arirco (9:13), Stefan Mijatovic (11:40), Gurson (12:33), off a 40-yard shot, and former Lancer Joey Tavernese (13:20).
Florida extended its lead to 10-1 after three quarters on scores by Reget (5:21) and Parreiras (power-play at 6:59). In the final period, the host side recorded goals by Joshio Sandoval, Ricardo Carvalho, Mijatovic and Reget. Wright and Rozzano tallied for Rochester.
At halftime, former Rochester Rhinos owner Chris Economides presented a special award for Lancers owner Salvatore “SoccerSam” Fantauzzo, who was not able to attend the match. Head coach Doug Miller picked up the award.
The Lancers return home for back-to-back matches at the Dome Arena in Henrietta, N.Y. when they host Utica City on Friday, Feb. 21 and the Baltimore Blast on Saturday, Feb. 22. Both matches start at 7 p.m. They will complete a busy weekend in Utica on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m.
Tickets for all home matches are available at RLancers.com or can be purchased at the Dome Arena.