SeaWolves Fall to Tropics in Home Opener

by Austin David

Kissimmee, FL –The Orlando SeaWolves opened up the 2019-2020 season against their in-state rivals the Florida Tropics and after a contentious game, the home side fell 3-2 to the visitors from Lakeland.

"Through the circumstances, our guys played tremendously," Head Coach Chris Kokalis said after the game. "There's not much more I could ask for."

For the second season in a row a former Orlando City player opened the season scoring for the SeaWolves. Last year, Luke Boden netting the first goal of the year and tonight it was former USL and OCB Lion Jonny Mendoza, who nodded home a header off a wall assist from forward Omar Tapia.

Minutes later, the Tropics equalized through Rafa Alves' low strike. That was the last goal through the half, mainly due to some heroic goalkeeping from Piotr Sliwa to save back to back shots late in the first half. 

The second half saw chances from both teams but it wasn't until Ricardo Cravalho broke the deadlock in the 3rd quarter after a turnover by the SeaWolves. 

The home side put on the pressure as the game went on and eventually found an equalizer through one of last year's top scorers, Richard Schmermund. Kevin Naranjo stole the ball and laid it off for the lefty to strike it into the bottom corner to level up the game at two. 

Unfortunately, the thrill was short-lived, as Matt Clare took back the lead for the visitors just a minute later, a lead they would not relinquish.

The SeaWolves finished the game out-shooting the stacked Tropics team 13-10, but could not turn those into goals.

The SeaWolves will play their next game once again against the Florida Tropics, though not until December 5th. Kickoff for that game will once again be at 7:35 p.m EST.