Kraze playoff-bound

The Kraze pushed late into the game down 2-0 before mounting a shocking comeback to win 3-2.

The Kraze pushed late into the game down 2-0 before mounting a shocking comeback to win 3-2.

Isaac Babcock

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The Central Florida Kraze have piled on the wins after clinching a postseason berth on July 8.

Now the Kraze are looking at a road trip grudge match before their final homestand at Winter Park’s Showalter Field, then heading to the Premier Development League playoffs.

The Kraze added valuable points to their season thanks to a wild July 16, when they started their game against the FC Jax Destroyers down 2-0 thanks to a pair of goals from Jax’s Gonzalo De Mujica.

Things weren’t looking good for the Kraze with only 20 minutes left in the game, as they had yet to score while watching the Destroyers slowly pull away with what looked like a sure win.

The Kraze needed the win to clinch the Southeast Division’s runner-up spot, guaranteeing them a shot at the playoffs. If they lost, they may have been overtaken by perennial rival Bradenton.

Midway through that game, the yellow cards were already flying, as six players were cited for wild tackles as tension rose during the Kraze’s impending comeback.

But on some big breakaways, the Kraze found their stride, with Jabari Garibaldi coming off the bench to light a fire under his team with a penetrating goal in the 70th minute, thanks to a serve from Johnny Mendoza. Mendoza followed two minutes later with a shot of his own, with the assist from Damieon Thomas.

“Don’t play for the tie,” Coach Joe Avallone said. “The ‘W’ is everything.”

Six minutes later, Garibaldi answered, again finding the net in the 78th minute to give the Kraze their first narrow lead of the game. Despite rising aggression on the field and two shots that barely tipped out thanks to Orman Kimbrough’s heroics at keeper, the Kraze held on until the whistle.

The Kraze play one more home game before heading to the playoffs. They’ll host Ft. Lauderdale, whom they’ve beaten three times this season, at 7 p.m. July 23 at Showalter Field.