WAVE RALLY PAST AMBUSH, CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT
St. Charles, MO (Feb. 1) — The Milwaukee Wave clinched a spot in the Major Indoor Soccer League playoffs on Saturday, scoring the final nine points to beat the St. Louis Ambush 19-12 at the Family Arena.
Milwaukee (11-2) maintained its half-game lead in the league standings over Baltimore (11-3) and more importantly secured one of the top four spots in the table, ensuring the Wave of a postseason berth.
It wasn't easy, as the Ambush (4-11) led 10-6 at halftime and 12-10 late in the third quarter. But Milwaukee displayed championship mettle in wresting control of the game back from St. Louis over the game's final 18 minutes.
“Every game can't be pretty, but I think the second half we played really well,” said Wave coach Keith Tozer.
Carlos Munoz scored a power-play goal with 1:36 to go in the third period, just two seconds before the man advantage expired, to make the score 12-all. It remained that way until 6:44 was left in the game, when Pablo capitalized on the Wave's high defensive pressure by stealing a cross-field pass and one-timing it into an empty net for the winning goal.
"We pick and choose when we go at (Ambush goalkeeper Jeff Richey), he's obviously very good with his feet," Tozer said. "Pablo stood in the middle, read it well and scored."
From there, the Wave masterfully closed out the game by maintaining possession, forcing the Ambush to come get them and taking advantage of the open space behind. JC Banks made it 16-12 with 2:58 remaining, and when St. Louis responded with a sixth attacker, Judson McKinney sealed the game by rolling in a long 3-pointer 25 seconds later.
Milwaukee led 6-0 quickly on goals by Luan Oliveira, Hewerton and Nick Perera, but the Ambush fired back with 10 consecutive second-quarter points, including long 3-pointers by Chris Mattingly and Chad Vandegriffe. The Wave forged a 10-all tie in the third before Vandegriffe scored once more, the last points for the Ambush with 3:36 left in the third quarter.
Marcel Feenstra was the winning keeper, pushing his record this season to 8-1.
The Wave travel to the East Coast next weekend, visiting the Syracuse Silver Knights on Friday and the Rochester Lancers on Sunday. Both games can be seen on YouTube. Milwaukee returns home at 2 p.m. Feb. 16 against the Pennsylvania Roar.