First-place Tropics start three-game homestand with visit from rival Orlando on Sunday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. -- T he Florida Tropics will look to win their third straight game and say atop the Major Arena Soccer League Eastern Conference standings when they host rival Orlando in a 3:05 p.m. kickoff Sunday, Jan. 12 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

It will be the fourth meeting of the season between the two I-4 teams, with the Tropics winning the three previous matchups. Florida comes in at 7-1 overall, best in the east. While Orlando is just 1-5, their lone win came recently at home over the powerful Baltimore Blast.

Florida returns home after winning back-to-back road games for the first time in team history. In last Friday’s 17-4 triumph over the Rochester, the Tropics set a team record for largest margin of victory and most goals in one game. Saturday in Baltimore, the Tropics took a road win from the Blast for the first time ever – and only the team’s second win ever against them – when Ricardo Carvalho scored in overtime for a 7-6 victory.

Carvalho enters Sunday’s game third in the league in points with 21, and his 11 assists are tied for first in the MASL. Netminder Brett Petricek is second in the league with a goals against average of 3.77, while teammate Hugo Silva is fourth at 4.11. The two have shared netminding duties so far this season, with each picking up a win last weekend.

Orlando is paced by Omar Tapia’s two goals and three assists in six games.

The two teams will tangle again in another Sunday matinee on Jan. 19 at the RP Funding Center. The games will be broadcast live at Tickets are available by calling 863-240-0101 or online at