FLorida Tropics SC hit the road for two important divisional games this weekend

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – With six of their last nine games away from central Florida, the Tropics will start the final stretch of games with visits to Harrisburg and Syracuse this weekend in the Major Arena Soccer League.

Florida will meet the Harrisburg Heat Saturday night at the State Farm Show Arena in a 7:05 start, and then head north for a 4:05 p.m. Kickoff Sunday at the OnCenter War Memorial Arena in Syracuse against the Silver Knights. Both games will be broadcast live at www.masl.tv.

Florida and Syracuse are tied for second in the east, with identical 7-6 records, well back of first-place Baltimore (12-2) and well ahead of last place Harrisburg (5-10) in the division.

Led by Ricardo Diegues with 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points. Syracuse's top scorer is Joey Tavernese (17-16-33) while Harrisburg is paced by Thiago Freitas (4-23-27).

Florida is expected to be at almost full strength on the trip with the return of rookie Lucas Coutinho, who has missed the last two games with a leg injury. He has some of the Tropics' prettiest goals this season, with seven overall in 10 starts. Mauricio Salles, who returned after a one-game absence against Kansas City last week, is also expected to suit up. Rafael Alves, who made his debut last week against the Attack and was impressive in scoring a first-half goal, will not make the trip because of a leg injury.

After this weekend, the Tropics will have a rare off weekend, and then conclude the home portion of their 2017-18 schedule starting Feb. 9 with a visit by the Harrisburg Heat followed by a weekend double header Feb. 16 and 17 against the San Diego Sockers. For ticket information, visit www.fltropics.com, or call 863-240-0101.