by Jim Fossell

Lakeland, FL (January 25, 2020) – The St. Louis Ambush split a two-game weekend road trip to Florida when they lost 7-1 to the Florida Tropics Saturday night in Lakeland. The Ambush won the first game of their journey to the Sunshine State when they defeated the Orlando SeaWolves Friday night. Saturday’s loss dropped the Ambush to 6-7 on the season, while the Tropics tightened their grip on first place in the MASL Eastern Conference with a 10-1 record.

The first quarter produced only one goal, by Florida midfielder Matt Clare. Ambush defender Axel Duarte was sent to the penalty box for a handball at 3:39 of the second quarter, giving Florida a power play that resulted in a goal from Drew Ruggles at 5:23, to make the score 2-0.  The Tropics took a 4-0 lead into halftime, thanks to two goals in the final minute of the second quarter. Drew Ruggles executed a shot from outside the arc that eluded the reach of Ambush goalkeeper Paulo at 14:25, then Luxas Teixeira found the back of the net 26 seconds later.

St. Louis squandered two power play opportunities in the third quarter, when Rafa Alves earned a trip to the penalty box for pushing, then Zach Reget was carded for pushing as well. The Ambush finally got on the board, with both teams at full strength, when Tony Walls scored at 11:27 to shave Florida’s lead to 4-1. The Tropics got a power play of their own when Mario Marcos was sent to the sin bin for taking down Gory Gurson at 12:48. It took Florida only 12 seconds to capitalize on the man advantage as Victor Parreiras made the score 5-1, a score they would carry into the final stanza.

The Ambush were awarded a shootout at 2:55 of the fourth quarter when Florida goalkeeper Hugo Silva was called for a handball outside the goalkeeper area. Duduca took the shootout, but Silva saved it. The Ambush still had a power play on Silva’s blue card and for the third time in the contest, didn’t score with the man advantage. Two former Ambush players combined to increase Florida’s lead to 6-1 when Zach Reget passed to Antonio Manfut, who was able to beat Paulo at 8:17 of the fourth period. With the sixth attacker in play for the Ambush, Ricardo Carvalho made it a 7-1 game when he headed a shot by Robert Acosta at 8:38.

The Ambush will be on the road for back-to-back games in two different cities in New York next weekend. They visit Utica City FC Friday, January 31 at 6:00 p.m. CST, then travel to Rochester to square off with the Lancers Saturday, February 1 at 6:00 p.m. CST. The next home game is slated for Saturday, February 8, when the Harrisburg Heat invade the Family Arena for a 7:05 p.m. CST matchup. The February 8 game will also honor the 25th Anniversary of the 1995 NPSL Champion Ambush team with alumni players on hand to sign autographs and the current Ambush raising a tribute banner inside the Family Arena.