via press release
FULLERTON, C.A. – Team Riptide used a six-goal fourth quarter to take the lead and defeat Team Rolling Thunder 21-20 in Saturday’s MLL All-Star Game at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, CA. This tight game featured unselfish offense, over 30 attempted behind-the-back passes and goals, and stellar goalkeeping.
Ohio Machine goalie Scott Rodgers took home Most Valuable Player honors after making 10 key saves in the second half for the Riptide. The biggest save of the night came in the final minute with a point-blank, one-armed stop on fellow Machine teammate, Marcus Holman to preserve the Riptide’s lead and secure the victory. This is the first time that a goalkeeper has been named Most Valuable Player of the MLL All-Star Game.
“The whole experience was a pleasure,” said Rodgers. “Playing in my first All-Star Game of my career and doing it with the group of guys on my team was a pleasure.”
Riptide, coached by New York Lizards head coach Joe Spallina, got on the board early with three quick goals before Rolling Thunder got on the board with an unassisted goal from Rob Pannell. Rolling Thunder, coached by Ohio Machine head coach Bear Davis, evened the score at 6-6 in the first quarter before Paul Rabil gave the Riptide the one-goal advantage heading into the second quarter.
Rolling Thunder pushed the tempo after the break and dominated the second quarter, outscoring Riptide 7-2 behind six straight goals scored by six different players. Ned Crotty, attackman for the Rochester Rattlers, led scorers in the first half with three goals while Boston Cannons attackman Will Manny added two goals and two assists.
The pace started off a little slower after the halftime break but both teams made up for it by scoring six goals in the final three minutes of the third quarter. Riptide added three goals in a row, tallied by Lizards teammates Paul Rabil and JoJo Marasco and Chesapeake Bayhawks midfielder Joe Walters, before the Florida Launch’s Kieran McArdle scored for Rolling Thunder to give them a two-goal lead heading into the final quarter.
Defense really made a difference in the final quarter as both teams battled it out in a close contest. Cannons goalie Tyler Fiorito and Rodgers combined for 28 second-half saves in efforts to give their team the victory. Riptide kicked off the final quarter with three straight goals to retake the lead 18-17. After trading goals, Rolling Thunder strung two goals together behind Pannell and Holman to lead 20-19. Riptide used Boston Cannons’ offense with goals from Manny and Brent Adams along with strong defense from Lizards defender Joe Fletcher and Rodgers to take back the lead and secure the victory.
Double Platinum recording artist Kid Ink also made a special appearance for the All-Star Game by performing at halftime and postgame for the fans.