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Comeback falls short as Sharks stopped in final seconds

October 27, 2007 - Major Indoor Soccer League 2 (MISL 2) - Orlando Sharks News Release

For three quarters of its inaugural game in the Major Indoor Soccer League against sister expansion team New Jersey, the Orlando Sharks kept their fans wondering when the fast-paced, high-scoring action they had been promised would show itself. Then the final quarter started and the Sharks made a game of it, exploding for four points on two goals. The final 90 seconds was a blur of shots and bounces and near misses by the Sharks, but the ball never found the back of the net. By the slimmest of margins New Jersey prevailed, 7-4 over the Sharks.

Orlando (0-1) returns to the Shark Tank at Amway Arena next Saturday, Nov. 3, to face the Baltimore Blast. The theme that night is Fiesta Caliente, a celebration of culture and heritage.

After being outscored 7-0 in the first half, the Sharks saw momentum shift their way with the help of a raucous hometown crowd. After all, first-year bragging rights were on the line. Orlando's defense came out with something to prove, holding the Ironmen scoreless in third period. Keeper Paul Nagy put in a stellar effort, recording four saves in the second half, including three in the final period.

The offense followed suit as defender JP Rodrigues scored the first goal in franchise history seven seconds into the fourth period, a two-pointer to end the shutout. He now holds the distinction of being the first player in MISL history to get the better of former U.S. National Team keeper Tony Meola. The Sharks did not waste any time continuing the comeback, as the second goal came less than three minutes later off the foot of midfielder Marcelo Santos, who knocked it past Meola while in traffic in front of the net.

This being the first game for both teams, penalties played a major factor. The leading scorer on the night, Ironmen forward Shaun David, received the first penalty in club history for tripping in the first two minutes of the game. It was the most prevalent penalty of the night, reminiscent of high sticking in hockey, but instead of ice these calls were coming while players battled for possession against the wall.

Defense was the name of the game in the first period, but the Ironmen drew first blood when Goran Vasic scored in the 10th minute. The Sharks tried to answer, moving the ball downfield with speed and control, but to no avail. New Jersey was relentless in its pursuit on offense, led by David. He hit a remarkable three pointer from beyond the 45-foot arch with 10 minutes left in the second period.

The Sharks offense remained well-organized yet ineffective, as many shots hit the cross bar. But as it did throughout the night, the defense remained stout. Defender Bill Sedgewick put his body in the net to keep the ball out, blocking a shot with less than two minutes remaining before halftime to keep the Ironmen from scoring again.

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