History in the making? Tropics eye 4th straight win in home opener Saturday vs. Rival SeaWolves

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Florida Tropics are hoping to make team history Saturday night at the RP Funding Center  when they open the home portion of their 24-game regular season in a 5:05 p.m. start against their local rivals, the Orlando SeaWolves.

Florida opened the year with three straight road games, all victories, to tie a team record for most consecutive wins. The latest triumph was also historic since it was the Tropics first ever win against the defending MASL champion Milwaukee Wave, and their first-ever win in overtime.

The 3-0 start is the best in the four-year history of the club, and the team is just one of three remaining undefeated sides in the entire Major Arena Soccer League.  The three road wins – after going just 1-11 away from the RP Funding Center last season – also have put the Tropics atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Newcomer Ricardo Carvalho is leading the Florida offense with six points. He is one of 12 free agents signed by the team after last season. Carvalho, Matt Clare and the league's reigning Rookie of the Year Zach Reget lead the team in goals with three each. Two of Clare's have been game winners, against Orlando in a 3-2 road win on Nov. 22 and on Dec. 5 in an 8-5 triumph.

Defender Richard Schmermund leads the Orlando attack with two goals and two assists as the SeaWolves come in following a 14-5 road loss to Baltimore. This is the third of six meetings this year between the local rivals, with the all time  series currently tied at 4-4. 

Tickets are still available at www.fltropics.com, by calling 863-240-0101, or at the box office game day at the RP Funding Center.  The game will mark the debut of the Tropics on WTTA-TV, Great 38, out of Tampa Bay. All 12 Tropics home games will be televised live on Great 38 this year, and all games home and away are broadcast live at www.masl.tv.

This starts a three-game homestand for Florida, who will welcome the Baltimore Blast on Dec. 21. The Blast were the three-time defending MASL champions before Milwaukee took the crown last year. The Wave will get a chance to avenge their home-opening loss to the Tropics last weekend when they visit Lakeland on Dec. 28.