By Central Florida Panthers SC
Following their first loss of the season at home, the Central Florida Panthers had a bounce-back game against Miami United FC as they took down the visitors by a score of 3-1. 17-year-old Charles Ahl, who graduated from Trinity Prep High School just the day before, scored twice in the first half while Cole Cecconi added the third goal in the second half.
“The first one, the ball came out and just hit it first time, top bins,” Ahl said of his goals, “The keeper had no chance. For the second one, I saw Igor, just slipped in behind, and finished it up close.”
After a 30-minute lightning delay in the area, the match began with both teams spending the first few minutes warming up back to speed. With a few chances for the Panthers early on, the home side was able to capitalize in the 24th minute. After Charles Ahl drew a free kick from 20 yards out, captain Will Johnson was tasked with putting the ball back into play. After Johnson’s set piece was deflected out, Ahl found himself at the top of the box with no one around. The youngster struck the ball on the half volley and fired it into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Ahl would not be done on the night. Following a corner kick by Miami that was cleared away, midfielder Igor Martins intercepted a back pass from the United backline and found himself with acres of space. As the defense closed down on Martins, he picked out Ahl in the middle of the 18-yard-box to finish off the chance and give the Stetson commit his brace.
The scoreline would hold until the halftime break, with the Panthers continuing to hold serve through the second half. It wasn’t until the 75th minute when CFSC added their third. Rollins College players Jari Polm and Cole Cecconi combined after Polm forced a turnover in the Miami backline, feeding the ball to Cecconi with no one around him. Miami goalkeeper Bryant Gammerio was forced to come out to challenge, but the Tars forward had the angle and scored from 30 yards out into an open net to make it 3-0.
Miami United would work to add a late flurry of chances, but for the second game running, goalkeeper Carlos Melendez came up with massive stops. The Panthers keeper ended the match with eight saves on the night. United would add one goal in stoppage time, thanks to Nicolas Micoli, but it was too much to come back for the visitors as the Panthers saw out the 3-1 win.
The Panthers will have their third consecutive home match on Saturday, June 5th as they host Boca Raton FC at 6:30 pm. Unlike their other home matches, this one will be held at Lake Howell High School. For tickets please click here.
Photo Credit: Scott A. Miller Photography