Tropics battle to wire but Sockers take 2021-22 Major Arena Soccer League title

by Brian Ackley

SAN DIEGO -- The Florida Tropics gave up two goals in the first four minutes of the game Sunday in San Diego, and never could quite recover as the Sockers won the 2021-22 Major Arena Soccer League championship, taking Game Two of the series 4-3.

It is the 16th indoor soccer championship for the storied Socker's franchise, who won its first ever championship in 1981-82 when they defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center to claim the North American Soccer League indoor title that season.

The Sockers won Game One of the series in Lakeland a week agao, 6-3. Florida led 3-2 in the fourth quarter but was unable to hold the lead.

After digging an early hole Sunday, goals by Victor Parreiras made it 2-2 in the second quarter. San Diego took a 3-2 lead to the half, but Ricardinho tied it for the Tropics again early in the third before Kraig Chiles got the game winner at the 6:19 mark of the third.

From there, goaltenders Boris Pardo and Florida's Rainer Hauss kept it a one-goal game, and there was no scoring the rest of the way. San Diego outshot the Tropics, 24-16.

It is the second straight season Florida has been eliminated by San Diego, although last year it was in the semi-finals where the Sockers scored two one-goal wins, one in overtime.

The Tropics will continue with their outdoor UPSL season this Saturday at Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale with a 6 p.m. kickoff against Naples City FC.