Arico nets pair as Tropics win four straight to open season, 7-4 over Kansas City Comets

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – Anthony Arico scored twice, and Drew Ruggles added a goal and two assists as the Florida Tropics remained undefeated on the young 2021 Major Arena Soccer League Season with a 7-4 win over Kansas City at the RP Funding Center Sunday.

It was the Tropics  fourth straight triumph to start the year, one shy of a team records. Ian Bennett and Victor Parreiras each had a goal and an assist while Florida, which built a 4-1 halftime lead, also got goals from Joey Tavernese and Guilherme.

The Tropics built a 7-2 lead deep into the final quarter, before the Comets got two goals in the final 67 seconds. Ramone Palmer, Adam James, Rian Marques and Mark Lewis got the Kansas City goals. Player/Coach Leo Gibson was ejected from the game with a red card in the final minuted of the first half.

“This was a solid start-to-finish effort, good in all phases of the game,” Coach Clay Roberts said. “Kansas City is a very good side, so to take two from them this weekend is an accomplishment to build on. There was a lot of heart involved in both wins.”

Florida dropped Kansas City 8-7 Friday night in overtime, the Tropics first ever home overtime win in five seasons.

Hugo Silva was busy in goal for Florida, as Kansas City outshot the hosts, 25-18. He has started and won all four of the Tropics starts so far. Kansas City falls to 1-2 with the loss.

The Tropics will conclude a five-game homestand Saturday when they host the Dallas Sidekicks in a 5:05 start. Kansas City will be in St. Louis the same night for the Ambush home opener. 

At present, 11 teams have committed to playing in the 2021 season, although that could still change depending on local restrictions related to the pandemic. Six teams are playing in January, with the remaining teams to join the mix in February. Teams will play between 12 and 24 games, with playoff seeding determined by overall winning percentage. 

The league is announcing schedules only a month at a time because of the pandemic restrictions, but the final games of the regular season will be played by April 18.

Single game tickets are available through the team’s Facebook page (click on the event link), or by calling 863-240-0101. Tickets will also be available gameday at the RP Funding Center box office. The team and arena have devised a socially distanced seating plan that can accommodate approximately 1,500 fans per game. Facial coverings will be required for those in attendance.