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Florida Launch Keep Winning Streak Alive, Beat Atlanta Blaze at Home 19-16

Written by Lee Roggenburg on . Posted in .
via Launch web site – photos via MLL  
Author’s Note:  Again, another grind it out victory, coming again from behind, for the surging Launch.  The game was a tale of two halves for the team defensively, as they struggled in the first half with communication and execution, only to turn it on in the second half.  One on one battles were won all game on the defense but the adjustments in the second led to few open looks inside in the second and Austin Kaut saw the ball better in the second.  The defensive midfield of Mike Unterstein, Mark McNeill and Tim Edwards shut down Atlanta and as the game went on the easy goals off transition that Atlanta buried in the first half also were stopped.   Offensively the team consistently found transition opportunities, sometimes as much as 6-3 fast breaks, and also exploited gaps in the middle of the Atlanta defense, as Kieran Mcardle in particular punished the Blaze with off ball movement to the front of the cage.  A number of goal mouth feeds found Mcardle, from a number of feeders and angles and he finished nearly every opportunity.  Connor Buczek was able to get his hands free on alley dodges and Sergio Salcido rebounded this week with much better patience.  Once again it was a team effort as no one had to carry the offense on their back, making this team more difficult to game plan.   The depth of the options available is worth keeping up with for the fans.  The one on one defense play of Tucker Durkin, Alec Tullet and the rest will only get better as the team continues to get used to communicating with each other.  Liam Byrnes made his debut and fit right it as well.  Really, the only thing the team needs to work on is channeling their on-field intensity away from taking the penalties that are avoidable, with twice the team giving up pending man up opportunities with retaliatory conduct.   If you are a Launch fan this season is turning into something memorable.
  After fighting the Atlanta Blaze through three periods, the Florida Launch ultimately extinguished the visitors 19-16 by the hands of veteran Kieran McArdle (7G, 1A). Struggling to hold off the Blaze from an early lead, the Launch entered the locker room at halftime with a two-point deficit. Captain Steven Brooks shared what might have been the cause for a change in momentum for the Launch.   “It’s just about staying focused, we got eight rookies dressing and we got a lot of veterans as well it’s just about staying the course, staying poised, and staying hungry,” Brooks said about his halftime message to the team. “Stop the bleeding when they got in transitions and just try to focus on what we do successfully and just start chipping away.” Entering the second half with a refocused energy, the Launch tied the game early in the half with goals from Liam Byrnes and McArdle. Holding the Blaze to a single goal late in the third, the Launch began what would be an unstoppable scoring spree that lasted through the fourth period. “Those guys were just finding me off ball trying to find a spot and get in a good shooting lane and they found me and made it easy on me,” said McArdle.     Burning through the fourth quarter, the Launch scored four unanswered goals to ultimately beat the Blaze. An imposing defensive presence late in the game stifled the Blaze’s offensive efforts, limiting Atlanta to two goals in the fourth quarter. The league leader in saves, Launch goalie Austin Kaut (.529 SV%) continued his standout performance, saving 18 out of 34 shots on goal for his fifth win of the season. “We connected on all cylinders offensively.  We just want to keep making those strides into the playoffs,” said McArdle. The Florida Launch return to FAU Stadium on July 15 to face the Chesapeake Bayhawks. For tickets, call 561-923-9067.