By Central Florida SC Panthers
Returning home for their third match of the season, the Central Florida Panthers came up against a well-drilled Miami Dutch Lions FC, where the home side fell 2-1 on a second-half goal.
A number of players made their debuts for the Panthers on the night, with head coach Tom Traxler wanting to work more players into the rotation for fitness and tactical reasons.
“I thought we freshened it up during the match,” Traxler said. “We came to life a little bit, we started to possess a little bit better, we kept the ball a little bit more and now we just need to build on that.”
The match started out much like the first two for the Panthers. Through the first 20 minutes, there were a few half-chances, but mainly a lot of play through the midfield. The Dutch Lions created chances of their own, but they were the ones to capitalize first in the 24th minute. Phillip Spickenbaum struck a loose ball into the top corner to put the visitors up 1-0.
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as the Panthers would strike back minutes later. After William Eyang drew a free kick 30 yards from goal, Sam Todd delivered a back-post ball to Callum Doyle, who rose up to head it across goal and in, pulling the match level at 1-1.
The scoreline would hold until the halftime break, but the home side would not be able to break through in the second half. Goalkeeper Carlos Melendez would keep the Panthers in the game for the first 15 minutes of the half with four saves, including a penalty save. However, Miami would strike again in the 65th minute thanks to Max Busch just barely getting the ball over the line after Melendez got a piece of it.
The Panthers would try to battle back, but the Dutch Lions were able to keep the home side off the scoreboard for a second time, winning their first match of the season.
The focus now quickly shifts to the Panthers’ next match on Saturday as they host Miami United FC at 6:30 pm at Showalter Stadium. For tickets please click here.
Photo Credit: Scott A. Miller Photography