Preview: Playoff possibilities aplenty as Tropics end regular season on the road
LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics SC will hit the road for their last weekend of regular season action in the Major Arena Soccer League with three games in three nights Feb. 24-26 and a berth in the post-season potentially on the line.
Florida will play bac- to-back games in Harrisburg Friday and Saturday night, and finish off their first-ever regular season at Syracuse on Sunday.
Should either Harrisburg or Florida sweep the two games, that would lock up a playoff spot for the winner. Should the two split, Florida would have to win against Syracuse, and have Baltimore beat Harrisburg on March 5, the final regular season weekend in the MASL, for the Tropics to earn a playoff berth.
The Tropics and Heat are both 8-9. If the two teams ended with identical records, the first tie breaker would be head-to-head play. The Heat already own wins of 7-4 and 6-2 over Florida this season. All the league playoff information can be found at maslsoccer.com/playoffs.
Florida will head into the weekend after being idle last weekend, and off a sweep of the Syracuse Silver Knights Feb. 10 and 12. The Tropics opened the doubleheader with a tight 3-2 win, and then set a team record for most goals in a game in a 12-10 triumph. Ricardo Diegues had five points in the game (three goals and two assists), and Freddy Moojen also added a hat trick. He also set a team record for fastest goal to start a game, getting the Tropics on the board nine seconds into the first quarter.
Florida is 3-0 against Syracuse this season, including a 7-6 win Nov. 26 triumph, the team's first-ever road win. The Silver Knights come into the weekend with a record of 7-11. The first- place Blast can clinch the regular season eastern division crown by winning any one of their three remaining games. Syracuse still has an outside shot at the playoffs if Harrisburg and Florida split their two games.
Moojen leads the Tropics with 27 points (14 goals, 13 assists), followed by Diegues (13 goals, six assists). Ricardo Carvalho tops the Heat with 22 points (13 goals, nine assists), while Kenardo Forbes and Slavisa Ubiparipovic lead Syracuse with 34 points each (16 goals, 18 assists for both.)
All three games will be broadcast live at www.masl.tv. Tropics fans are invited to special “watch party” at Winner's Circle Sports Bar and Grill (4215 South Florida Ave.) in Lakeland starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.