Baltimore stifles Tropics offense again in 5-1 loss

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Florida – For the second straight meeting, Baltimore held Florida to just one goal as the Blast took a 5-1 decision from the Tropics Friday night at the Lakeland Center.

The defending MASL champions improved to 3-1 with the win to take sole possession of first place in the eastern division. The Tropics came into the game just a half-game out of first, but fell to 2-3 overall.

The two teams will conclude their three game season series next Saturday night in Baltimore.

Similar to their first meeting in Baltimore Nov 18, the Blast held a one-goal lead heading into the final 15 minutes, but two goals in the first 63 seconds of the fourth quarter gave the visitors a cushion.

Ricardo Diegues got Florida's lone goal on the night with just over three minutes to play in the game. Baltimore got goals from five different scorers. Tony Donatelli had a goal and two assists to pace the Blast's attack. William Vanzela, who came into the game as the league leader in goals against, made 17 stops on 18 shots for Baltimore.

Florida's night got even worse in the final frame when defender Rapha Nascimento was carried off the field after suffering what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

The Tropics will be on the road next Friday night in St. Louis for an 8:35 EST kickoff, and then in Baltimore Dec. 10 for a 7 p.m. start. The next home game will be Dec. 17 when the Kansas City Comets visit the Lakeland Center. Tickets for the game are available at All Tropics games are also broadcast live on the MASL.TV YouTube channel, also accessed through the website.