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Wave’s coach Tozer reaches 700th coaching victory

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MILWAUKEE — On a day honoring three of the Milwaukee Wave’s historic players, coach Keith Tozer made history of his own becoming the first coach in North American soccer history to reach 700 coaching victories as Milwaukee overpowered Syracuse 21-8.

Ian Bennett and Marco Terminesi led the Wave with six points each while Greg Howes tallied five points of his own to reach 46 on the season. Terminesi’s three point strike in the first quarter tied him for 10th all-time in Wave history with 11 long-range strikes. For the Silver Knights, keeper Brian OQuinn was instrumental in only his second start, saving 17 shots and keeping the score close. Nelson Santana led Syracuse offensively, recrding four points on two goals. Syracuse drops to 6-12 while Milwaukee moved to 14-2, 8-1 at home.

Milwaukee burst out of the gate scoring twice in less than two minutes to grab a quick 4-0 lead. Howes picked up a loose ball just outside the box before slotting home the Wave’s first. Only 35 seconds later, Nick Perera doubled the score after a string of passes from Hewerton and Leite. Syracuse stormed back to tie the game up at four behind a re-start goal from Slavisa Ubiparapovic and a great piece of individual skill from Nelson Santana.

The tie was short lived though as Terminesi picked up a loose ball, outraced two Wave defenders and beat the Syracuse goalie from behind the arc. Once again Milwaukee followed up a tally with another score less than a minute later, this time in the form of an Ian Bennett side foot goal off a feed from Joe Hammes. True to form, the Silver Knights responded with a beautiful fast break goal, capped off by Jon Gruenwald to make it 9-6 going into the second quarter.

The Wave struck first yet again in the second stanza when Perera’s shot was parried by Syracuse’s keeper into one of his own defenders and ultimately into the back of the net. The Silver Knights mistakes came back to haunt them eight seconds later when Terminesi intercepted a lazy pass, chipping the goalie and making it 13-6.

The theme stayed the same for Milwaukee’s next goal, as pressure by Leite forced an own goal from the Knights and pushed the lead to nine. Syracuse was able to trim that lead to seven as Santana scored his second of the game off of a blacked shot, making it 15-8 at the half.

After a frenetic first half, both teams tightened up the screws defensively. Milwaukee was content to sit on its seven point lead while Syracuse didn’t want to over commit up top and leave itself vulnerable at the back. The gridlock was finally broken 12 minutes into the third when Nick Vorberg sent out a long outlet pass to Howes. Howes trapped it and sent it careening off the wall into the path of Bennett who didn’t waste the play, scoring the only goal of the quarter and making it 17-8.

Once again, Milwaukee opened the quarter with patient play, dropping the ball off to Vorberg instead of risking a pass into the other end. Syracuse left more openings this time as they pushed more and more players up and Milwaukee made them pay. A string of consecutive passes left Bennett all alone in front of the net to complete the hat trick as he scored for the third time in the game. Howes notched his second goal of the game just minutes later, deflecting in a shot from Jonathan Greenfield to make it 21-8. Milwaukee added yet another when Giuliano Oliviero put one in the upper 90 off a pass from Bennett. Syracuse and Milwaukee traded 2-point goals near the end of the fourth when the contest was all but decided.

The Milwaukee Wave plays next at home at the US Cellular Arena on February 4th at 6 p.m.