By Central Florida Panthers SC
After this past weekend’s heartbreak, the Panthers had little time to rest or prepare for Wednesday night’s fixture against a strong Miami Dutch Lions FC squad.
The Panthers got off to a very fast start as Daytona State forward Kevin Kelly was able to create a turnover which Stetson winger Steele Norton ran onto, taking the ball and slotting it under Miami’s goalkeeper in the seventh minute.
The Panthers continued to create opportunities for the rest of the first half, but Miami’s backline and goalkeeper did an outstanding job defensively. The Panthers led 1-0 at the end of the first half with six shots on goal, while Miami was not able to get a shot on frame.
The visitors made some impressive tactical shifts and really went on the offensive to start the second half. They created a number of scoring opportunities, but this time the Panthers defensive line and goalkeeper held firm.
The most dangerous moment of the night occurred in the 69th minute after a bad giveaway deep in their own half. The Dutch Lions quickly passed up to an open forward who flicked back to an overlapping player for an open shot on frame. Goalkeeper Phil D’Amico was quick to block the shot, and he came up big to stop two quick rebound shots. The Dutch Lions continued to press for an equalizer throughout the game, and the Panthers had a couple more opportunities. Neither team was able to convert, leaving the Panthers with a 1-0 win.
Coach Tom Traxler was pleased with the team’s performance.
“Happy to get the three points,” Traxler said. “That’s the aim every match, of course. I thought this past Saturday felt like we should’ve gotten the three points but didn’t, and tonight felt more like a draw but we were able to get the victory. Credit to Miami Dutch Lions, they are a very good side, very organized, very good physically. We knew it would be a tough match and obviously it was. Our guys had to dig deep, and we had some strong performances tonight.”
The Panthers continue their busy week as they face Miami United FC on the road with an 8:00 pm kickoff this coming Saturday night at Milander Park in Miami Shores, FL.
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Photo Credit: Scott Miller