After fighting for supremacy, the Florida Launch ultimately fell to the Ohio Machine 13-11 in their penultimate home game at FAU Stadium.
Exchanging blows throughout the first quarter, the Launch and the Machine maintained an even score until late in the period. Two unanswered goals from faceoff specialist Kevin Massa and rookie Justin Guterding put the Machine in the lead, leaving the Launch in a 5-3 deficit moving into the second quarter.
“I just don’t think we were in a rhythm today. They forced us to play a lot of individual ball. We did that, but we never really got into sync,” said midfielder Connor Buczek, who scored two goals in tonight’s loss.
Outscoring the Machine 4-2 in the second quarter, the Launch came back to even up the score with a goal from Buczek early in the period. The Machine fought back to retake the lead off goals from attackmen Frank Brown and David Emala. But, a late goal from Nick Mariano and a hat trick for Dylan Molloy sent the Launch to the locker room tied with the Launch at 7-7.
“I thought going into halftime, they had an advantage on faceoffs. We had maybe an advantage by one on ground balls,” said head coach Tom Mariano, “we won the ground balls, but there were a couple key ground balls I thought we could have had.”
Continuing the battle for the lead, the third quarter proved to be quiet for both teams, with both teams only finding the net a combined three times. The Machine, however, would end the quarter on a buzzer-beating two-point goal from Steven Waldeck to secure a 10-9 lead. With two goals to kick off the fourth quarter, the Machine took off, extending their lead to 12-9 early in the period. A goal from Steven Brooks cut the Ohio lead back down to two, but a goal from Brown secured the victory for the last-seeded Machine.
“We’ve got to get to win number 5, and then win number 6, and then number 7. But, none of that happens if you don’t get to win number 5,” said Coach Mariano, “you do that by focusing on the details and doing the little things, which we were inconsistent on tonight.”
With playoff contentions on the line, the Launch hope to regroup moving into the bye week before traveling to Obetz, Ohio on July 26 to rematch the Machine.