Matthew Sawaged scored three consecutive goals for the Lancers to help them pull away, in the second half. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)
EAST ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The Rochester Lancers celebrated their first indoor soccer game at home in almost three years by recording a 9-6 victory over the Iowa Demon Hawks in a Major Arena Soccer League 2 game before a sold-out Total Sports Experience on Friday night.
Matthew Sawaged registered his first hat-trick and player-assistant coach Joey Tavernese bagged a brace. The third-place Lancers (11 points) improved to 4-1 while Iowa (18), the Northern Division leaders, dropped to 6-2-1. The Lancers have five games in hand on the Demon Hawks.
Alex Harling added a goal and two assists. Konrad Zydowicz, Tamas Nagy and August Finn also scored for Rochester.
Goalkeeper Dan Maddock enjoyed another strong game, making several key saves to frustrate the visitors.
It had been 1,084 days since the Lancers played at home, or since defeating the Kansas City Comets, 9-7, in an MASL match, on March 7, 2020.
The Lancers grabbed a 2-0 lead behind goals from Harling and Tavernese as player-head coach Jake Schindler was involved on both plays.
From the left flank, Schindler sent a pass into Frankie Ciliberto into the middle. Ciliberto then slipped the ball to Harling, who powered a shot past goalkeeper Rainer Hauss from the left side at 5:54.
Only 48 seconds later, Tavernese doubled the margin. This time Schindler shuffled a free kick from atop the penalty area to Tavernese, who drilled a left-sided shot home at 6:62 for the Lancers’ 750th indoor goal of the modern era. In 2011, team owner SoccerSam Fantzuzzo revived the Lancers brand as the team returned as an indoor team.
The Demon Hawks sliced the lead in half at 9:19, as Bruno Henrique slotted a rebound past Maddock.
Sawaged restored Rochester’s two-goal lead at 6:45 of the second period. Harling sent a left-wing pass to an unmarked Sawaged on the right side, and he had no problem depositing it into the back of the net for a 3-1 edge.
The Lancers were caught with six men on the field and were assessed a blue card and the Demon Hawks a two-minute power play. The visitors cashed in on it as Maycon Franca converted an Enrique pass from the left corner at 9:23, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Sawaged celebrated his second goal of the quarter at 12:36 as he put away a 2-on-1 break off an Eduardo Figueroa feed for a 4-2 halftime advantage.
Sawaged completed his hat-trick 73 seconds into the third period, as he slotted home a rebound of his own shot from close range for a three-goal lead.
Iowa, however, refused to wilt as Guilherme Dos Santos scored off a left-footed effort at 4:53 to knock down the visitors’ deficit to 5-3.
A Demon Hawks player tripped over the ball at midfield. Zydowicz picked up the loose ball and motored down the left side before placing a shot past Hauss for a 6-3 lead at 5:46.
Diego Pantuza, off an assist by Alexandre De Souza, scored from the left flank to cut the host’s lead to 6-4 at 9:18.
With only four seconds left in the period, Haroldo Oliveira connected on a one-time volley from the left side to pull Iowa within 6-5.
The Lancers, however, caught their second wind early in the fourth quarter as they struck for two successive scores. Tavernese tallied his second of the match, off a Finn assist at 1:50 for another two-goal lead and some breathing room.
Nagy toe-poked the ball under Hauss’ hands from point-blank range to lift Rochester into an 8-5 advantage at 3:23.
The Demon Hawks crawled within 8-6 with 54 seconds remaining as De Souza scored from the right side.
Finn sealed the win as he scored with a long shot into an open net with Hauss well out of position with 20 seconds left.
These two teams will square off again at TSE on Saturday with a 7:45 p.m. ET kickoff.