Here we go! St. Louis comes to town for season opener this Saturday
LAKELAND, Fla – The Florida Tropics SC will start its third season in the Major Arena Soccer League Saturday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland when they host the St. Louis Ambush. Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.
The Tropics are 2-0 in both season and home openers. Last year, Florida defeated the RGV Barracudas on the road, 10-5, to start their 2017-18 campaign. In 2016-17, Florida rallied for a stunning 6-5 win over San Diego in the team's first ever game that kicked off the 2016-17 year.
For the Ambush, their season begins Friday night in Orlando before making the 50-mile trip west to the RP Funding Center for Saturday's showdown.
This marks the first of 20 divisional games for the Tropics, as the MASL moved to a division intensive scheduled for the new season. The new South Central division of the Eastern Conference includes both Florida and St. Louis – who will meet six times overall – along a new local rival, the Orlando SeaWolves, which appears six times on the schedule as well. The two other division squads, the Milwaukee Wave and Kansas City Comets, will meet the Tropics four times each.
Each of the past two years, Florida has battled for a playoff spot right down to the final weekend of the regular season, only to fall short. As in previous years, only the top two teams in the division qualify for the post-season.
“Every game will be a big one now with the emphasis on divisional play,” Coach Clay Roberts noted. “It puts the stakes even higher on a nightly basis. One game at any point in the season could mean the difference between making the playoffs and not making it. We've had a great pre-season of training, with more time than ever training indoors, which I think will help us get off to a quick start.”
Fans will welcome back a number of the team's well known stars, including captain and assistant coach Freddy Moojen, leading scorer Ricardo Diegues, and other key players including Victor Parreiras, Anthony Arico, Lucas Teixeira, and Lucas Montelares.
New this year are goalkeeper Hugo Silva, a starter each of the last two seasons with the Harrisburg Heat who had the fifth lowest goals against average in the entire MASL two seasons ago, and high scoring veteran forward Max Touloute who has 68 goals in 73 career arena soccer games.
All 24 regular season games are broadcast live at www.maslsoccer.com. Tickets and more information is available at www.fltropics.com.