January 13, 2024
TOWSON, MD. - The Rochester Lancers got off to a winning start to their 2024 Major Arena Soccer League 2 season, registering a 14-6 triumph over Baltimore Arsenal at SECU Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Forward Joey Tavernese led the Lancers with four goals and one assist. Taner Bay added a hat-trick and Matt D'Amico and Ali Alomari contributed two goals apiece.
Rochester moved to 1-0 in the young season, while Baltimore fell to 1-2.
Goalkeepers Jakeb Mitchell and Alastair Farmer combined for the win. Mitchell (seven saves), who was replaced with 2:37 remaining in the game, wasn't tested very often. But when he was, Mitchell showed why he deserved MASL 2 Elite Six honors last season. Perhaps Mitchell’s biggest save came when he denied Joe Sefoi from close range late in the second quarter.
The Lancers outshot Baltimore, 34-17.
Rochester dominated the opening half and rolled to a stunning 7-2 halftime lead.
Tavernese tallied his first goal to get the team off and running at 6:44 of the first period. After taking a pass from Alomari on the left side, Tavernese drilled a shot into the lower right corner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead, the lone goal of the quarter.
The game really opened up in the second period.
After Rochester goal was disallowed because the ball went in off a referee, the Lancers doubled their lead at 7:36 on a strong individual effort by Konrad Zydowicz. Gaining possession at midfield, he raced toward the net on the left side before powering the ball into the upper right corner.
Tavernese beat goalkeeper Alejandro Sosa from close range, off an assist from Mitchell, to increase the margin to 3-0 only 18 seconds later.
Baltimore's Ethan Watson solved Mitchell at 9:10, cutting the margin to 3-1.
Eduardo Figueroa scored his first goal of the season at 10:19 to restore the visitors' two-goal lead at 10:19, but Cameron Dawson, off a Kofi Forkuoh assist, made it a 4-2 game exactly a minute later, at 11:19.
The Lancers then regained their dominance by scoring three consecutive goals to close out the half.
After Sosa was penalized for tripping, Alomari got his first of the period by converting a shootout goal at 11:51 for a 5-2 lead. Alex Harling set up Ryan Curtis with a score at 13:46, and Alomari struck again with only 28 seconds remaining in the quarter to boost Rochester into a five-goal halftime advantage.
The teams found the net three times apiece in the third period.
Baltimore solved the Rochester defense as Alhagi Jobe scored at 3:14 of the quarter. But the Lancers quickly struck back on Bay's tally at 4:17, as he put away a cross-field feed by D'Amico, from the left side for an 8-4 bulge.
An interception led to the Lancers' ninth goal as Tavernese fed Davinson Diaz at 5:48.
Then it was Arsenal’s turn to strike back as Brayde Wise converted Jack Shearer's free kick only 26 seconds later at 6:16.
Rochester increased its lead to 10-4 at 7:59 as Tavernese got his hat-trick. Off a free kick on the top of the box, Jake Schindler faked a shot and found Tavernese on the left side. Baltimore's Rodrigo Valenzuela-Sanchez completed the period scoring with an unassisted goal with 28 seconds remaining.
While the hosts scrambled to get back into the match in the fourth quarter, it was all Rochester.
Tavernese, off a Schindler feed, scored off a difficult angle on the left side for an 11-5 lead at 5:41.
A midfield interception led to Arsenal’s last goal by Ayoub Abdelkarim at 7:58.
The Lancers scored the final three goals. They made it an even dozen off Bay second goal, off a Harling feed at 9:34. Bay and D'Amico put in unassisted empty-net goals at 12:23 and 13:29, respectively, to close out the scoring.
Rochester will play two more matches on the road before their home opener. The team will visit United Elite in Utica, N.Y. on consecutive Sundays, Jan. 21and 28.
The Lancers will make their season home debut against Atletico Orlando at the Total Sports Experience in East Rochester, N.Y. on Friday, Feb. 2and Saturday, Feb. 3. Both matches kick off at 7:45 p.m. That will start a slate of six consecutive home games.
For more information about the team, visitwww.RochesterLancers.com.