The St. Louis Ambush kept their playoff hopes alive when they defeated the Florida Tropics 7-6 Sunday afternoon in Lakeland, Florida. The win improved the Ambush to 10-11 on the season, while Florida dropped to 5-13. The Ambush took an early lead they would never relinquish, except when Florida managed to tie the game early in the fourth quarter.
The Ambush struck first when Lucas Almeida caught Florida goalkeeper Hugo Silva out of the goal and was able to chip a long shot over his head at 9:55 of the opening frame. St. Louis went up 2-0 less than a minute later (10:40) when Jowayne Laidley passed to Felipe, who sent it to JT Thomas, who fired a shot in the net. The visitors would go up 3-0 when Zach Reget, stationed near the goal mouth, caught a high-bouncing ball with the top of his foot and sent it into the goal at 12:13.
The Tropics made it a 3-2 game early in the second quarter when Ricardo De Queiroz Dieguesand Anthony Arico each scored three seconds apart (3:36 and 3:39). The Ambush got one back late in the second quarter when Clayton got off a well-place long shot from just inside the yellow line to make the score 4-2 with 11 seconds remaining in the first half.
Justin Stinson put St. Louis up 5-2 with a shot into the far corner of the goal at 1:35 of the third quarter. The Tropics answered when Caio Ruiz navigated a similar shot out of the reach of Ambush goalkeeper Paulo at 2:49. Clayton tallied his second of the afternoon when he went on a breakaway and executed a shot that found its mark at 5:05 of the third quarter to give the Ambush a 6-3 advantage. The back-and-forth continued when Diegues posted his second of the match less than a minute later (5:34) to make the score 6-4.
Diegues closed the gap to one (6-5) when he completed the hat trick early (1:42) in the final period. The Tropics drew even when Diegues struck again, beating Paulo with a header into the net at 4:02. The Ambush regained the lead (7-6) when Stinson went on a breakaway, drew Silva’s attention his way, then sent a pass to Felipe, who scored at 8:02. The Ambush fought fiercely to protect the lead and hold on until the final buzzer for the win.
The victory puts the Ambush one half game behind the Kansas City Comets in the race for the second playoff berth in the MASL South Central Division. The Comets dropped to 9-9 after falling to the Baltimore Blast Sunday afternoon.
Next for the Ambush is a battle with the first-place Milwaukee Wave (16-3), who has already clinched the South Central Division title, in Milwaukee on March 17, then a visit to Independence to square off with the Kansas City Comets on March 23. The Ambush are also offering a special package for the visit to Kansas City where fans can see the game and get round trip bus transportation for only fifty dollars. Fans can register online at stlambush.com or by calling the Ambush office at 636-477-6363. The Ambush return home for the regular season finale when the Wave invade the Family Arena Friday, March 29 at 7:35 p.m. CDT. The first 1,000 fans in attendance March 29 will receive Ambush Player Card Set 5.