Let's play two! Tropics tangle with San Diego Sockers for home weekend doubleheader

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND –  The San Diego Sockers come to central Florida to help the Tropics close out their home portion of their 2017-18 schedule this weekend with a Friday and Saturday night doubleheader. Kickoff for both games is at 7:35 p.m.

The Tropics are in third place in the Major Arena Soccer League's eastern division, just a half-game back of the Syracuse Silver Knights, 10-7, with only the top two teams in the division earning playoff spots. Florida, 9-7, has played one less game that Syracuse so far.

San Diego comes in already having cliched the MASL's Pacific Division regular season title, with a record of 14-3. The two teams squared off in the Tropics first ever MASL game on Nov. 11, 2016 in Lakeland, with the Tropics staging a dramatic fourth-quarter rally to earn a 6-5 win over the Sockers.

The Sockers are one of the country's most historic and successful franchises, founded in 1978 in the original North American Soccer League. They have won 14 indoor soccer league championships since their inception. 

Florida is led by Ricardo Diegues, with 20 goals and 12 assists for 32 points. Kraig Chiles continues to pace the Sockers offense with 30 goals and nine assists.

On Saturday, the first 500 fans will receive special Tropics T-shirts to the first 500 fans courtesy of Bond Clinic, P.A. Tickets are available at www.fltropics.com, or by calling 863-605-4131. Both games will be broadcast live at www.masl.tv.

Following the doubleheader, Florida will end the regular season with four games on the road, starting Feb. 23 and 24 with games in Harrisburg and Baltimore, which has already clinched a playoff spot in the east.