Road to Ron Newman Cup starts with quarter-finals matchup vs. St. Louis this weekend

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – The road to the Ron Newman Cup will begin this weekend when the Florida Tropics and St. Louis Ambush meet up in a quarter-finals matchup in the Major Arena Soccer League 2021-22 playoffs.

The series will open in St. Louis Friday night in an 8:35 p.m. EDT start. Then the two teams will meet Sunday afternoon, April 10, in a 3:05 p.m. kickoff at the RP Funding Center. If the teams split those games, a 15-minute  “mini game” will be played at the end of Sunday’s game to determine who moves on to the MASL sem9-finals. 

Both games will be broadcast live on the league’s new streaming platform on Twitch.

Sunday’s game will mark the first time the Tropics will have ever hosted a playoff game, despite posting a league best 48-6 record over the last three years. Two seasons ago, with the Tropics sporting an 18-3 record, the remaining portion of the regular season and playoffs were canceled because of the Covid-19 outbreak. Last year, the MASL held its opening round of playoffs in a neutral site – Kansas City – where the Tropics dropped both games, one in overtime, to the eventual champion San Diego Sockers. Florida did not qualify for the post-season in its first three years.

This will be the 20th and 21st games in team history against St. Louis, representing the team Florida has faced more than any other in its history. The Tropics are 12-7 overall, including 9-2 at the RP Funding Center but just 3-5 in St. Louis. 

“They’ve always been a great matchup and obviously they’re very excited to be in the playoffs as well,” Florida Coach Clay Roberts said. “They’re very energetic. They love to run so we’ll have to be up to the challenge of the physicality of the game. But our guys understand it’s a do or die situation after the fantastic season we’ve had, so we’re excited to step into the spotlight. It’s a time for everybody to reset and be at their best.”

Florida comes in the No. 2 overall seed in the playoffs following an 18-3-2 regular season, while St. Louis is the No. 7 overall seed following their 10-12-2 campaign. St. Louis has won three of their last five, while Florida has fallen in three of their last five. 

Victor Parreiras continues to lead the Tropics with 29 goals and 23 assists for 52 points, which is a club record for the regular season.  Mohamed Ndiaye leads a balanced St. Louis attack with 19 goals and 24 assists; five different St. Louis players, however, have either 18 or 19 goals on the season. 

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors Bond Clinic and Advent Health, fans can get free general admission tickets to Sunday’s first-ever home playoff game. Vehicles pay $20 to park, and then they can take their parking receipt to the RP Funding Center box office for as many free general admission tickets as passengers in their vehicle.

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