Let the rivalry begin, Tropics host Orlando SeaWolves Saturday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. –  Rivals separated by a mere 50 miles will play their first ever Major Arena Soccer League game against each other Saturday at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland as the Florida Tropics SC host the Orlando SeaWolves. Kickoff is a 7:05 p.m.

This will be the first of six regular season meetings between the two foes, whose arenas are exactly 50.5 miles apart. Orlando plays in the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, and come in having recorded the franchise's first ever win last weekend, a 12-7 decision over another first-year club, the Mississauga MetroStars.

The Tropics were shutdown by the Milwaukee Wave, 7-2, to fall to 2-3 in the MASL's South Central division, where the Wave and SeaWolves also reside. Orlando is 1-2 overall.

Of the six games between the two this year, the first three are in Lakeland (Jan. 12 and Feb. 16) with the final three at Silver Spurs (March 2, March 15, and the regular season finale April 13). Twenty of the Tropics 24 games this season are against South Central Division teams, which also include the St. Louis Ambush and Kansas City Comets.

Guilherme continues to pace the Florida attack with seven goals in four games, third best in goals scored for the entire MASL so far this year. Indoor veteran Gordy Gurson is leading the Orlando offense with three goals and two assists for five points in three games. Luke Boden – who has logged more than 130 games for Orlando City in both the USL and Major League Soccer – and Jonathan Mendoza have three goals each as well.

The game, and all Tropics game home and away, will be broadcast live at www.masl.tv. For tickets, call 863-240-0101 or visit www.fltropics.com.