The Orlando SeaWolves last game at home for a while and their first out of the state of Florida will be remembered the same way — close, agonizing losses.
On Friday, the St. Louis Ambush scored off a corner kick with 5.7 seconds to wash away and Orlando rally and beat the hosts, 7-6, at the Silver Spurs Arena.
Then Sunday, in their first true road game of the year, the SeaWolves trekked to the frozen Northeast and played a solid first half before falling to Utica (N.Y.) FC, 10-6.
Orlando is now 3-5 and play in St. Louis (6-7) on Saturday at 8 p.m. again seeking revenge for the loss. The match can be watched online at www.masl.tv.
The series against St. Louis has turned into a bona fide rivalry. The teams opened the MASL season against each other on Nov. 30 and that game went to overtime, so over eight quarters of play minus 5.7 seconds, the teams are tied at 10. They will play for the fourth and final time in St. Louis on Feb. 22.
Orlando took a 3-1 lead early in the game, but the Ambush narrowed it to 3-2 before halftime and scored the first three goals of the second half, taking a 5-3 lead into the final quarter. The SeaWolves then awoke, getting goals from Osvaldo Rojas, Gordy Gurson and Thiago Freitas in 94 seconds — Gurson and Freitas’ came just nine seconds apart — wrapped around a Zach Reget goal in the midst, and the game was tied with 6:16 left.
The arena had overtime between the clubs on the mind again with seven seconds left, but that changed when Reget redirected Lucas Almeida’s corner kick into the net past a diving Rainer Hauss.
Coach Tom Traxler said the team was bitterly disappointed in the result.
“Anytime you drag yourself back into position to get something out of a game and you don’t, you’re disappointed,” he said. “We out ourselves in way too many bad positions to help ourselves out, didn’t take care of power play opportunities.
“The guys are upset, these are competitors who want to win every time they step on the floor. Coming off our last two games, great wins, you want to capitalize. But we’re not out of anything, still in the playoff race. We’ll fix what we didn’t do well and move on.”
The move on was in the bitter cold of Utica — Traxler posted social media photos of snowdrifts — but the SeaWolves came out hot, taking a 4-2 lead nine minutes into the game. But then they went cold like the weather, and got snowed under by a blizzard of Utica goals, including three by Slavisa Ubiparipvic in a span of 12 minutes of the middle of the game.
New Orlando player Elmo Neto, acquired last week in a trade with the Harrisburg Heat, scored a goal late in his SeaWolves debut Sunday.
The SeaWolves’ next games come Saturday and on Feb. 16 in Lakeland against the Florida Tropics.