Moojen's hat trick leads Tropics to second home win of the season

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The battle cry for now is “Home Sweet Home,” and the Lakeland Center proved to be just that for the the Florida Tropics SC Friday night as they tripped up the Dallas Sidekicks, 8-6.

The game was the first of seven straight at home for Florida, which improved to 4-7 on the season. All three teams behind Baltimore in the eastern division, including Harrisburg and Syracuse, now have four wins each. The top two finishing teams in the east earn playoff berths.

Playing without leading scorer Ricardo Diegues – out for probably at least a month with a hamstring injury – and third leading scorer Anthony Arico (out on a one-game league suspension), the Tropics got three goals from captain Freddy Moojen, the team's second hat trick in three games.

Leading 2-1 at half, Florida expanded its advantage to 5-1 early in the third. Dallas then scored twice within a 20-second span, before Victor Parreriras scored to give the Tropics a 6-3 edge going into the fourth. Dallas pulled to within 7-6 when Cameron Brown knocked in his second of the night, but newcomer Robbie Aristodemo got his first of the season at the 8:31 mark to close out the scoring.

 Florida netminder Piot Sliwa had the save the season as Brown made a bid for his third goal with less than two minutes to go when he snagged a shot right on the goal line as the Sidekicks played with the sixth attacker.

The Tropics also got goals from Lucas Montelares, Jowayne Laidley and Maycon Franca, much to the delight of the Tropics largest home crowd of the season of 3,456.

Florida opened the regular season with seven of their first 10 games on the road, setting up this extended home stretch of games. It was the Tropics second home win in four starts, with the first coming in the season-opener Nov. 11, a come-from-behind win over the San Diego Sockers.

The homestand continues with a doubleheader of sorts next weekend when the St. Louis Ambush come to town. The Tropics and Ambush will kick it off Friday night at 7:35, and the two will meet Sunday in a 5:35 start.

Tickets are available at www.fltropics.com, or by calling 863-333-5353. All Tropics games home and away are broadcast free of charge at www.masl.tv.