Best in East meets second-best in West as Tropics host San Diego Sockers Saturday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – The top team in the Major Arena Soccer League's Eastern Conference will host the second-best team in the West when the Florida Tropics meet the San Diego Sockers Saturday at 5:05 p.m. at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The game will be televised live on WTTA-TV Great 38i in Tampa and online at

Florida comes in with a 12-1` record – riding a franchise-best seven-game win streak – while San Diego checks in at 11-3, behind only 15-1 Monterrey in the West. San Diego will be playing its fourth game in six nights on the road, losing Monday in Monterrey, but picking up wins Tuesday in Sonora and Thursday night against Orlando.

Florida comes in off a two-game sweep of road games in Texas, which included the franchise's first-ever shutout (7-0) over Dallas. The Tropics have allowed the fewest goals against in the entire MASL (42), and are fourth overall in goals scored. Hugo Silva is top's among league netminders in goals against average at 3.31`. San Diego's Boris Pardo is sixth overall at 5.26.

Ricardo Carvalho is fifth overall in league scoring with 15 goals and 17 assists (32 points) while Kraig Chiles paces the San Diego attack with 15 goals and 7 assists.

The team's have met three times in the past, all in Lakeland, including the Tropics win on Nov. 11, 2016, the franchise's first game in the MASL. Trailing 4-1 In the final period, Florida rallied for a 6-5 win against the Sockers, who have won 13 indoor soccer championships dating back to their founding in the 1970s. 

Tickets for the team's first Camo and Country Night – featuring a post game concert by local country music star Kenzie Wheeler – are available by calling 863-240-0101 or at

Florida will stay home and host the Rochester Lancers next Saturday, Feb. 15, before hitting the road the next afternoon for a third and final regular-season meeting against the Milwaukee Wave.