The Sarasota Paradise are One Win Away from the Postseason

Todays News

Pictured: Paradise celebrating during their win over Miami FC. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Paradise.

On Tuesday night, the Sarasota Paradise played perhaps the most pivotal game of the season. In a battle for the South Florida Division of the United Soccer League Two (USL2), the Paradise squared off against the division leading Miami FC–a victory over Miami would keep the Paradise’s playoff hopes alive. A loss or a tie would eliminate them from playoff contention.

“We came into the game feeling really confident. We knew we had to win and that there was no other option. Right off the bat we made sure that we had more energy, that we were off the front foot and were really attacking offensively,” says Captain Felipe Rojas. “Miami’s definitely a worthy opponent for the league title. They beat us in the first game and had only lost to Tampa Bay United coming into last night’s match. We knew that we had to have more of a will to win, more of a desire to win than they did.”

With their playoff dreams on the line, the Paradise answered the bell in spectacular fashion, thoroughly dominating Miami FC in a 4-0 shutout performance. Striker Kai Tamashiro set the tone early, scoring in the 13th minute and midfielder Juliano Manfro notched his second goal of the season just before the end of the first half. Not to be outdone, striker Seth Mahlmeister scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season in the 70th minute and midfielder Will Pierce scored just before the end of regulation for good measure.

The secret to their success? The players’ bond with one another. “I think what it came down to was that our chemistry as a team has improved so much that we’ve just gradually gotten better game by game. That allows us to kind of inexplicably perform very well without any specific thing that I can point out,” says Rojas. “Everybody’s individual talent is able to be expressed in the utmost way throughout the game.”

With their win on Tuesday night, the Paradise have flipped the script on their season. Instead of playing catchup with Miami FC, they are now solely in control of their own destiny–a win over St. Petersburg FC on Saturday would clinch the division and secure a spot in the Southern Conference playoffs.

Next Game: Saturday July 13, 7pm at St. Petersburg FC.

Pictured: Paradise celebrating during their win over Miami FC. Photo courtesy of Sarasota Paradise.

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