Heat is on, Harrisburg makes only visit to Florida this year with Friday night showdown

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – After meeting eight times in the past two years, the Harrisburg Heat will take on the Florida Tropics Friday night at the RP Funding Center  in a Major Arena Soccer League game. Kickoff is at 7:35 p.m.

The two were rivals in the MASL”s Eastern Division, but this year, the Tropics were moved to the newly created South Central Division, meaning Friday's game will be the only meeting between the two this season. The team's are 4-4 against each other. Florida lost all four against the Heat two years ago, but last year won all four.

Florida is 1-2, having lost two on the road last weekend. The first, 10-0 loss to Mississauga, comes with a huge asterisk as the majority of the Tropics roster did not dress because of strict Canadian Immigration work laws. With a full complement of players, the Tropics lost last Sunday to Utica City FC, 8-5.

Assistant Coach Freddy Moojen is expected to make his return from an early-season leg injury and make his debut Friday, as is defender Rafa Alves. Ricardo Diegues is still expected to be sidelined for a few weeks as he recovers from a sports hernia surgery. Lucas Coutinho will be out for an extended period after injuring his knee in the Tropics opener. Enzo Maranghoni is expected to make his Tropics debut Friday as well.

Guilherme has stepped up on offense, with three goals in two games, along with two assists, to lead Florida in scoring. Ricardo Caravalho leads Harrisburg with three goals and two assists as well. The Heat is 1-1, coming in off a 7-6 home  win over St. Louis last weekend, netting the game winner with 22 seconds to play. The Tropics opened their year with a 9-4 win over the Ambush.

The game will be broadcast live at www.masl.tv. For tickets, go to www.fltropics.com or call 863-605-4131.