Tropics, Blast set for third meeting of season Friday night in Lakeland

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – For the third time this season, the Florida Tropics SC and Baltimore Blast will hook up in the Major Arena Soccer League, with each team having won previously on their own turf. Kickoff between the two rivals is Friday at 7:35 p.m. on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

The most recent meeting came Sunday in Baltimore, where the Blast took a 10-1 decision behind the efforts of William Vanzela who lost his shutout bid in the fourth quarter when Raphael Schlemper scored midway through the frame.  Tony Donatelli had a five-point game with two goals and three assists, and leads the Blast in scoring this year with eight goals and seven assists for 15 points.

On Nov. 18, the Tropics scored their first ever win over the Blast, who have won each of the last two league titles, when Lucas Teixeira scored on a 55-foot blast with just over 20 seconds to play for a 5-4 win. Freddy Moojen, scored twice in the triumph, and leads Florida with seven goals and six assists for 13 points.

The two teams will play for the final time in the regular season in Baltimore on Feb. 24. It's also possible the two teams could be first-round opponents in the post-season as the top two teams in the eastern division will qualify for the post-season. Baltimore is in first at the moment, 1.5 games up on the Tropics.

The Tropics will stay home and host the Harrisburg Heat in another key divisional showdown on Saturday, Dec. 23 in another 7:35 p.m. kickoff.

Tickets are available at www.fltropics.com, or by calling 863-240-0101. The game, and all Tropics games home and away, are broadcast live at www.masl.tv.