League-leading Florida Tropics will end regular season in California, dreaming of MASL postseason

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The first-place Florida Tropics will travel to California to finish its 2021 regular season in the Major Arena Soccer League this week, with matchups Wednesday against the Ontario Fury and Thursday against the Tacoma Stars that could very well determine seedings for the league’s upcoming playoffs.

Both games will be played at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, and both will start at 6:05 p.m. PST (9:05 EST). They will also both be available for viewing on the MASL’s pay-per-view Facebook stream.

The Fury are chasing the Tropics for first place in the MASL this spring. Only seven teams suited up this year because of varying state and national Covid 19 restrictions and regulations, and the final regular season standings and playoff seedings will be determined by winning percentage since teams will not be playing the same number of games.

Florida comes into the weekend with a mark of 8-3 (.727 win percentage), while Ontario comes in at 5-2 (.714) win percentage). With the nature of Covid 19 restrictions changing sometimes on a daily basis, final playoff plans have not yet been announced. 

The Tropics will make their first ever post-season appearance this year. They were declared the league’s Eastern Conference champions for the 2019-20 by posting an 18-3 record. However, the remainder of the regular season and all the post-season were canceled because of the ongoing pandemic. The Tropics did not qualify for post-season play in their first three years in the league.

The Tropics – presented by Bond Clinic –  have been idle since the Tacoma Stars, Ontario Fury and San Diego Sockers came to Lakeland for a round-robin of games Feb. 18-21. The Tropics lost in overtime to Tacoma, 7-6; fell to San Diego 4-3; and defeated the Ontario Fury, 8-7.

Ian Bennett, on loan this year only from the Milwaukee Wave, comes in leading the team and league in goals with 15 and total points with 22. Captain Victor Parreiras is second overall in team and league scoring with 21 points (six goals, 15 assists). Goalkepper Hugo Silva leads the league in wins with 8, and is second overall in goals against and save percentage. 

For more information, visit fltropics.com or maslsoccer.com