Florida seeks franchise-tying win streak when it hosts Syracuse Silver Knights

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics SC will look to tie a team-record for consecutive wins when they host the Syracuse Silver Knights Friday night on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center Friday night at 7:35 p.m.

The Tropics have won two straight, including a dramatic  5-4 win Nov. 18 over the two-time defending Major Arena Soccer League champion Baltimore Blast. Florida won three in a row once in the inaugural season in 2016-17 when they defeated Dallas, 8-6, and then took two straight from St. Louis by scores of 3-2 and 9-4 last January.

Florida moved into first place in the MASL eastern division with its first triumph ever against the Blast. The Tropics are 3-1, while Baltimore and Harrisburg are close behind at 2-1 in what figures to be a very tight race all season long in the east.

Syracuse is just 1-3, but to highlight just how tight the division is, all three Silver Knight losses have been by one goal, one in overtime. In four games, the Tropics goal differential is plus 2 while the Silver Knights differential is just minus 2.

Florida is led by captain and assistant coach Freddy Moojen, who has four goals (including two against Baltimore) and six assists for 10 points. The team's leading goal scorer is newcomer Mauricio Salles, with six, including his 200th career professional arena soccer goal against Baltimore.

Syracuse is led by a trio of returnees, including Joey Tavernese (5-5-10), Slavisa Ubiparapovich (5-3-8) and Kenardo Forbes (4-3-7).

This will be the fifth meeting all-time between the two clubs. Florida was 3-1 against Syracuse last year, but 0-7 against the rest of the east. Florida's first road win in team history came last November against the Silver Knights, 7-6.

After hosting Syracuse, Florida will hit the road for back-to-back games Dec. 9 in Syracuse and Dec. 10 in Baltimore, before a return home engagement Dec. 15 against the Blast. Tickets for all games are available at www.fltropics.com. All games, home and away, are broadcast live at www.masl.tv.