Tropics roll to sixth home opening win in defeating Utica City, FC
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Florida Tropics (2-0_won their sixth home opener in seven starts Saturday night in defeating Utica City FC, 9-3.
Kiel Williams had a goal and three assists, while Zach Reget, Victor Parreiras and Drew Ruggles had two goals each. Lucas Teixeira and Ricardo Carvalho also scored as Florida built a 6-1 lead at the half.
Utica, who fell to 2-2, got goals from Tim Goldham, Nate Bourdeau and Joey Tavernese. The Tropics improved to 2-0.
It was another impressive defensive effort for Florida, who blocked 16 shots, one more than they had in a 7-6 road win to open the 2022-23 season in Baltimore last weekend. Rafa Alves led that unit with five blocks, and Jorge Navarrete got the win in goal, as Utica outshot the Tropics 36-29. Navarrete was credited with the win in lowering his goal against average to 4.50.
In their history, the Tropics are 7-0 in season openers, and now 6-1 in home openers.
"Total team effort again, which is something we strive for and take pride in," Coach Clay Roberts said. "We generated a lot of chances, and got a few goals on some bounces that helped, but overall we earned what we got and we have to be pleased with the effort at both ends of the floor."
The Tropics will look to build on their two-win start when they host Baltimore for games Wednesday, Dec. 21 and Friday, December 23 at the RP Funding Center, before a rematch on the road in Utica on Dec. 28.