Carvalho converts in OT as Tropics three-goal rally stuns Blast in overtime, 7-6

by Brian Ackley

BALTMORE, Md. – Before this season, the Florida Tropics had never won a Major Arena Soccer League game overtime game. Now, they've won two this year already.

Ricardo Carvalho, the second leading scorer in the MASL, converted a perfect wall pass from captain Victor Parreiras at the 5:34 mark of the extra session to lift Florida to a 7-6 win over the Baltimore Blast Saturday night.

“That was a gritty effort, and reflection of exactly the type of team we set out to put together this past off-season,” Head Coach Clay Roberts said. “We didn't lose our composure and knew that if we kept battling that we were still right in the ball game. What we wanted to bring to our fans was a team full of winners and warriors, and tonight was a testament to that.”

It was the first time Florida (7-1) has ever beaten the Blast (4-5) in Baltimore, and finished off a two-game sweep of the Blast, who won the MASL's last three titles before Milwaukee won last year's championship. Impressively, Florida's other OT win this year was a 5-4 road thriller over the defending champion Wave. 

The Tropics rallied from an early 3-1 deficit to forge a 4-4 tie heading to the locker room, thanks to goals from Lucas Montelares, Matt Clare and Lucio Gonzaga.  Zach Reget scored in the first quarter for Florida's other goal of the half.

Baltimore scored the only two goals of the third, but Reget blasted home his second of the night with just under six minutes gone in the fourth to trim the lead to one before Clare got the equalizer on a nifty header with just 3:33 to play.  

The game came one night after the Tropics historic 17-4 road win over the Rochester (N.Y.) Lancers. Florida set team records for most goals and largest margin of victory in a game, and most goals in one quarter (seven in the fourth period) while scoring the most goals in any MASL game this season.  Carvalho (three goals, two assists), Joey Tavernese (four goals, one assist) and Antonio Manfut (one goal and four assists) all had five-point games.

It is also the first time in team history the Tropics have won back-to-back road games. After winning just once on the road last season, Florida is 5-0 this year away from the RP Funding Center in Lakeland. Just eight games into the 24-game regular season, the team has already eclipsed last year's win total of six.

After the quick road trip, Florida will return to Lakeland for another three-game home stand starring with back-to-back Sunday matinee's against the Orlando Seawolves on Jan. 12 and 19. Both games will start at 3:05 p.m. The St. Louis Ambush will make one of their two 2019-20 visits  to the RP Funding Center on Saturday, Jan. 25 in a 5:05 kickoff. Tickets for all games are available at fltropics.com or by calling 863-240-0101.