Diego Mayanga scored the equalizer off a late power play. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
HENRIETTA, N.Y. — It was so close for the Rochester Lancers on Saturday night.
Playing their finest match of the Major Arena Soccer League season, the Lancers dropped a 6-5 overtime decision to the Baltimore Blast at the Dome Arena.
Juan Pereira’s second goal of the match 55 seconds into sudden-death OT off a free kick off a feed by Tony Donatelli snapped a 5-5 deadlock for the Blast (12-7).
The Lancers (0-18) overcame a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter to force overtime behind goals by Rafa Godoi, Gary Boughton and Diego Mayanga.
Rochester goalkeeper Brian Wilkin, who made 26 saves in an 8-2 home defeat to Utica City FC on Friday, produced yet another strong game while his defense blocked countless shots.
The Lancers played their best quarter of the season, grabbing a 2-0 advantage for the first time. Rochester played back in the opening minutes before applying pressure and dominating long periods of the quarter.
Andriy Demydiv drew first blood. Thanks to some pressure by Rafa Godoi, Baltimore goalkeeper Mike Zierhoffer coughed up the ball, Andriy Demydiv got possession and beat him from the left side at 3:42 for his first goal of the season. Jeremy Ortiz stole a free kick deep in the Blast area and Boughton deposited a rebound into the net for the second goal at 10:25.
Baltimore head coach Danny Kelly pulled Zierhoffer for William Vanzela for the start of the second period. It certainly didn’t hurt as the Blast blanked the Lancers and the visiting side tied it at 2-2. Lucas Roque scored from the left side at 1:42 and Pereira equalized on a shootout goal at 11:51 after rookie Matt D’Amico was called for tripping.
The Blast pulled ahead, 4-2 in the third quarter on Victor France’s quick shot from the left side at 2:36 before he tallied off a Donatelli assist at 12:20.
It appeared Baltimore had wrapped things up at 5-2 on Jamie Thomas’ close-range goal at 1:57 of the fourth quarter, but the Lancers stormed back with two consecutive goals. First, Godoi tallied his second goal in as many nights off an Anthony Rozzano feed at 4:32 The Lancers were awarded a penalty kick due to a handball on Pereira in the penalty area. Vanzela saved Rozzano’s enusing penalty with a kick save, but Boughton connected for his second of the match off a Jeremy Ortiz free kick for a power-play goal to pull the hosts within a goal at 6:32.
The Lancers were awarded another power play after Mohammde Ndiaye was assessed a yellow card for dissent and Mayanga powered a shot from the left side to equalize at 5-5 at 12:54.
The Lancers will finish their three-game weekend at Utica City FC for a Sunday 2 p.m. matinee.
After this weekend, the Lancers will have five games remaining in the season. They visit the Baltimore Blast on Saturday, Feb. 29 before they return to the Dome Arena for their final homestand of the season. They welcome the Tropics on Friday, March 6 and then the Kansas City Comets on Saturday, March 7 Both contests begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets for all Lancers’ home games can be purchased at RLancers.com or at the Dome box office on game day.