by Jim Fossell

Lakeland, Florida (April 10, 2022) – Despite a gallant effort by the St. Louis Ambush, they were eliminated from the Major Arena Soccer League’s quarterfinals by the Florida Tropics in Lakeland, Florida on Sunday. The final score was 6-4 in a match that saw both teams battle down to the final buzzer. Florida, the number two seed in the playoffs, now moves on to the semifinal round. 

St. Louis took an early lead, scoring the first two goals of the contest within the first six minutes. Robert Kristo found the back of the net in the sixth minute, followed by Marcel Berry just over a minute later. Tony Walls assisted on both tallies. The Ambush held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Florida got on the board in the eighth minute of the second stanza on a restart when Victor Parreiras took a shot that hit the crossbar and careened into the goal to make it a 2-1 game. The Tropics followed up just over a minute later when Drew Ruggles, shooting from the yellow line, put the ball in the top of the net. St. Louis regained the lead 20 seconds later when Vadim Cojocov tapped in a loose ball in front of the goal mouth. With neither team scoring again in the period, the Ambush enjoyed a 3-2 lead at halftime.

Florida knotted the score again late (11:48) in the third frame when Ricardo Carvalho caught St. Louis goalkeeper Pollo Cortes out of the goal and put the ball in it to make it a 3-3 game.  The Tropics took their first lead of the match when Taylor Walter Bond nailed a shot from the corner with just under a minute and a half remaining in the quarter. Florida added to the lead when Zach Reget unleashed a hard shot from the corner with under a minute remaining in the period to give the home team a 5-3 lead with one quarter remaining.

The Ambush shaved the lead when William Eskay got off a shot that eluded Tropics goalkeeper  Jorge Navarrete in the seventh minute of the fourth quarter for a 5-4 score. With 3:18 left in the game, the Ambush pulled Cortes and went with the sixth attacker. Unfortunately for the Ambush, that strategy backfired when Florida’s Junior Alencar put the ball in the empty net with just over a minute left on the clock to give the Tropics a 6-4 lead that held until the final buzzer.

The 2021-22 season is now over for the Ambush, who will now move forward with planning for the 2022-23 season. Fans can stay current on all Ambush news during the offseason by visiting the team’s official website, and on social media outlets.