Do or die, Tropics will host KC Comets in Game Two, mini-game this Saturday in Lakeland
LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Tropics are hoping a little home cooking will be enough to get them through to their first ever Major Arena Soccer League championship series.
Either the Tropics or Kansas City Comets will earn their way to the MASL finals Saturday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland when they meet in Game Two of their Ron Newman Cup semifinal series.
The Comets took an 8-7 win last Saturday in Kansas City. The thrilling, back-and-forth affair featured 11 goals in the first half alone, but Rian Marques scored the only goal of the fourth quarter to give the Comets a one-game lead in the series.
That means the Tropics will have to first win Game Two Saturday. If that happens, the two teams will then immediately play a 15-minute “mini-game” at the conclusion of Saturday’s Game Two, with the winner moving on to the championships.
The mini-game is a full 15 minutes, and not sudden death. No carryover of any stats including fouls accumulations, penalty time and the like is carried over from game two. It is treated as a completely new game. Should the score be tied at the end of the mini-game, sudden death overtime periods of 10 minutes each will ensue until the “golden goal” is scored to determine a winner.
Kickoff for the April 23rd start in Lakeland is 6 p.m. Both Game Two and the mini-game if necessary will be broadcast live on the Twitch MASL channel. There have been two mini-games played so far in this year’s MASL post-season, with both Kansas City and Chihuahua winning at home to advance in the quarterfinals. However, there have been 32 mini-games in the sport’s history, with the results being evenly split with both the home and away teams winning 16 times each.
“We went out to Kansas City and had this back and forth epic match and ultimately they prevailed,” Head Coach Clay Roberts noted. “They’ve got some very good, very talented players obviously that we’ve got to contain a little bit better than we did in Game One. We’re going to need our team to step up in the moment, and that’s exactly what we’re up for. The last couple of seasons have been championship caliber seasons, so we are ready to take that next step.”
Roberts said having home field advantage can play a big part in the outcome Saturday.
“It’s do or die. It’s going to have to be a team victory, and our fans are part of the team,” Roberts added. “The energy and atmosphere in our quarterfinals win at home against St. Louis was something we fed off of, and we’ll need double that come Saturday night. We’ve worked hard to have this game at home, and the mini-game, so our fans can help lift us to the finals, and we need them all to come, and bring a neighbor, bring a friend. The more fans the better.”
As has been the case all year, team sponsors will be providing free general admission tickets to the game.
The “Tropics Blitz” program – sponsored by Bond Clinic and Advent Health – allows fans to simply pay to park, and then get the same number of free general admission tickets as there are occupants in the vehicle.
Single occupant vehicles will play $10 to park, while vehicles with two to eight persons will pay $20. Larger vehicles with nine or more occupants will pay $30. Fans are encouraged to sign up in advance to take advantage of the offer at https://www.fltropics.com/tropics-blitz since free tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Fans that want the best seats guaranteed can also purchase 100 level seats, and 200 level midfield seats, for $15 and $10 respectively. Tickets can be purchased through the RP Funding Center website at www.rpfundingcenter.com.
It is the second straight season the Tropics have advanced to the MASL semi-finals. Last year, however, games were played in a neutral site bubble because of ongoing pandemic issues. Florida lost in two straight to San Diego in games played in Kansas City, one by one goal and the other in overtime in last year’s semis. The Sockers went on to win the MASL title.
Winners of the Eastern Division, Florida comes in the No. 2 overall seed in the playoffs following an 18-3-2 regular season, while Kansas City took the regular season title in the Midwest Division with a mark of 13-9-1. They are the No. 3 overall seed by virtue of winning their division.
In the other semi-finals matchup, the San Diego Sockers are facing the Chihuahua (Mexico) Savage. Chihuahua took game one at home, 7-6 in overtime, with Game Two and the mini-game if necessary on April 24th in San Diego.
For more information, visit fltropics.com or maslsoccer.com.