By Central Florida Panthers SC
In their final home match of the 2021 NPSL regular season, the Central Florida Panthers SC had to rely on some late-game heroics from Stetson commit Charles Ahl and Rollins goalkeeper Maxi Obermeier to pull out a 1-1 draw against Naples United FC at Lake Howell High School Stadium Saturday night.
“This was a hard-fought match that you could see was important to both teams,” Panthers head coach Tom Traxler said. “The game got ‘chippy’ and emotional, but we like being in those games from the standpoint of playing in meaningful games. We will play in two more of those types of games in the next two weeks before the end of the season. We’ll have to be at our best to make sure we wind up in one of those four playoff spots.”
It was a rough start for the Panthers after just nine minutes, Naples scored the opener through their leading scorer Juan Cano, putting the visitors up 1-0.
It would be a tough battle back for the home side from there, as the chances through the first half were few. The second half gave the Panthers a boost, as the game became much more open.
Naples would get a chance in the 66th minute when Cano got into the box, but Panthers keeper Maxi Obermeier was equal to it, palming it away.
It wasn’t until the 79th minute that the Panthers were able to finally find a breakthrough of their own. Following a free kick right near the corner flag by Ahl, the ensuing delivery into the box hit the hand of Naples’ Diego Resquin, giving a penalty to the Panthers. Ahl would take the ensuing penalty and bury it into the bottom left corner of the goal, sending the keeper Christian Blanco the wrong way.
From there, the match would open up completely, with both teams searching for a winner. The visitors came extremely close late in stoppage time, but Obermeier once again came up with a huge save on Raul Sanches, denying a clear chance for a winner.
The Panthers would hold on for the next few moments to see out the result in their final home match of the season. CFSC has two away matches remaining in the season, with the first coming against the current first-place team in the Sunshine Conference, Miami United FC. That match will kick off Saturday, July 3rd at 5:00 pm.
Photo Credit: Scott A. Miller Photography