By Central Florida Panthers SC
Central Florida Panthers SC, coming off the heels of their 3-1 win at home last time out, took on the visiting Boca Raton FC. After going into the halftime break up one, the Panthers were forced to mount a comeback after conceding two goals early in the second half, managing a draw as the final whistle blew at 2-2.
“I saw us have a large lack of energy coming out of the dressing room,” Panthers head coach Tom Traxler said. “I think we got too negative. It took us seven, eight minutes into the half to actually put together any passing combination at all. It was just too negative, too defensive, and we needed to come up with a lot more energy.”
After torrential downpours throughout the match dampened the pitch, the game began with the first 30 minutes being an adjustment from both sides to the slick pitch. Neither side had any real chance on goal until the 15th minute when Charles Ahl blazed a shot past the face of goal.
The two sides continued to play through the weather until just before half when the Panthers struck first. Playing out of the back, Branton Saunders threaded a ball through the midfield, finding Ahl.
Ahl turned and found the overlapping run of Perrie Nascimento, who took it into the box and fired it under the legs of Boca goalkeeper Facundo Grimberg to give the home side the lead.
The second half started slowly for the Panthers, with multiple turnovers in the midfield. The visitors took advantage of that, scoring the equalizer in the 56th minute. After a cross from outside the box, Jamie Verdecia managed to get a head on the cross, which clanged off the crossbar. Pedro Viega for Boca was right there to follow up the shot to tie the match at 1-1.
The visitors would continue their momentum as they would take the lead just seven minutes later. Off a corner from Caleb Roldan, Kimanie King managed to get a touch on the ball in the box to tap home the goal, putting Boca Raton up 2-1.
The Panthers would find their footing five minutes later in the 68th minute. Off a corner for the home side Ahl would get fouled just inside the box, where a penalty was given. Nazar Tsaruk would be the one to take the penalty and, having it initially saved, the Rollins midfielder followed up his shot to put the ball into the back of the net to pull the game level.
For the next 20 minutes, the Panthers would go into a more defensive shape to help hang on to the scoreline.
“We’re missing a lot of players today, but that’s okay,” Traxler said on the result. “The players that came in stepped up, they got the result. They got a draw, they dug in. We know that we’re a team that can go down a goal, but we have it in us to come back.”
The Panthers will now take their talents back on the road as they get set to face Miami Dutch Lions FC on Saturday, June 12th with kickoff set for 7:00.
Photo Credit: Scott A. Miller Photography