Despite travel disadvantage, Tropics stun Utica City 7-1 as even GK Hugo Silva scores a goal

by Brian Ackley

UTICA, New York –  Despite not arriving in Utica until 2 a.m. Sunday morning, the Florida Tropics dominated Utica City FC Sunday afternoon in Utica, rolling to a  stunning 7-1 win to complete a weekend sweep of games.

So dominant was the Tropics performance that Florida goalkeeper Hugo Silva scored the team’s seventh and final goal, throwing the ball the length of the field into an open net as Utica had pulled its own goaltender for a sixth attacker.

The Tropics played in Baltimore Saturday night, winning 6-4, in a game that did not end until well after 9 p.m. It was the home and season openers for the Blast and Utica City, with both teams drawing near sell-out crowds to their respective arenas.

No matter to the Tropics – Florida was in control from start to finish-- who improved to 2-0, and jumped to an early lead in the Eastern Division with six points. They will be idle next weekend, and open the home portion of their 24-game regular season on Saturday, Dec. 18 against the Ontario Fury. Kickoff at the RP Funding Center will be at 5:05 p.m.

With Saturday’s win in Baltimore, Florida is a perfect 6-0 in season opening games, and are currently 5-0 in home openers swince joining the MASL.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our effort and heart this afternoon,” Florida Coach Clay Roberts said. “We’ve known since the start of camp this was going to be a grueling weekend, and every single person in the lineup the last two nights stepped forward with maximum effort and superior team play. Hopefully it’s a great springboard for things to come.”

Florida led 4-1 at the half, and held Utica off the scoresheet over the final two quarters of play. Silva was sensational in goal, facing 32 shots today after seeing 40 in Baltimore on Saturday. 

“Hugo couldn’t have played much better,” Roberts added. “And of course he got lots of help with all five guys consistently getting back behind the ball, and making calm, composed, skillful breakouts when the ball was turned over. An all around great weekend.”

Defender Rafa Alves got a pair of goals, along with single scores from Zach Reget (four goals for the weekend), VcMor Eligwe, Ricardinho Sobreira and Joshio Sandoval, and of course Silva, who now has five career goals. This was his second since joining the Tropics for the 2018-19 season.

Season tickets for all 12 Florida home games which guarantee the best seats in the house are now on sale by calling 863-240-0101. Each family season ticket account includes a parking pass this season.

In addition, the “Tropics Blitz” will provide free general admission tickets to many of the 200 level seats at the RP Funding Center for the entire 2021-22 season thanks to the team’s sponsor as a thank-you for five years of support, and as a way of providing a great evening of family entertainment for parents and kids who have had their activities curtailed because of the ongoing pandemic. Vehicles with two or more persons will pay $20 to park, and then be able to take their parking receipt to the RP Funding Center box office for the same number of free tickets to that day’s game as occupants in the vehicle. Single occupant vehicles will pay just $10 for parking. 

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