Florida Tropics SC open second MASL season with two-game 'Tex-Mex' road trip

by Brian Ackley

HIDALGO, TX –  The Florida Tropics SC will open its second season in the Major Arena Soccer League Saturday night in Hidalgo, Texas, part of a two-day, two-game road trip before returning for its home opener Saturday, Nov. 11.

The Tropics will kick off at 8:35 EDT in the State Farm Arena against the RGV Barracudas, who make their return to the MASL after a one-year hiatus. They played as the Brownsville Barracudas during the 2015-16 season.

The second leg of the trip is a visit to Monterrey, to welcome the Flash back the MASL after a two-year absence. Kick off for the Sunday night affair is at 6:05 EST. Both games will be broadcast live at www.masltv.com.

The trip is a homecoming of sorts for Tropics' stars Ricardo Diegues and Victor Parreiras. Both were standouts at UT Brownsville, about 70 miles east of Hidalgo, and both were key members of the Brownsville side two years ago.

Diegues appeared in 14 regular season and playoff games for the Barracudas, scoring 12 times as the team finished with an 8-12 record. Parreiras appeared in 20 games and banged in 31 goals.

In all, Florida's top seven scorers from a season ago return for a second year, supplemented by one of the game's offensive forces, Mauricio Salles, who signed with the Tropics this summer. Salles has appeared in 161 regular season and playoff MASL games, with 194 goals scored.

The team will return home for a three-game homestand starting with the home opener Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7:35 p.m. against the Cedar Rapids Rampage on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

In honor of Veterans Day, all active and retired military can claim up to four free tickets to the game by calling the Tropics office at 863-605. And in honor of those who showed heroism during Hurricane Irma, all first-responders in Central Florida can claim four free tickets as well.

Florida will be home Saturday, Nov. 18 against division rivals Baltimore Blast, and Friday, Dec. 1 against another divisional foe, the Syracuse Silver Knights.