Tropics claim first in east with first win ever against MASL champion Baltimore Blast

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics made franchise history Saturday night – and moved into first place the Major Arena Soccer League's eastern division  – with a dramatic 5-4 win over the two-time defending league champion Baltimore Blast.

It's the first win ever for the Tropics over Baltimore, who defeated Florida in all three meetings during the 2016-17 season. Florida improves to 3-1 on the season, while the Blast fall to 2-1.

The teams were tied 1-1 at intermission as Victor Parreiras and Andrew Hoxie traded goals for the Tropics and Blast respectively.

The teams combined for five goals in the third, including three in a row by Florida – two by Freddy Moojen and one by Mauricio Salles, the 200th goal of his professional indoor career.

Baltimore sliced the 4-1 lead to 4-3 on goals by Marco Nascimento and Jamie Thomas to put the score at 4-3 heading into the final 15 minutes. Baltimore finally got the equalizer at the 13:48 mark before the Tropics late game heroics.

Lucas Teixeira got the game winner with just over 20 seconds to go on a perfectly placed bomb from about 55-feet out, banging it off the far goal post past Blast netminder William Vanzela.

Moojen ended the night with two goals and an assist on the game winner, giving him 10 points in four games for the Tropics captain. Baltimore outshot the Tropics 44-38. Piotr Sliwa picked up his third win of the season, recording 11 saves.

Florida is off for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will conclude a three-game homestand Friday, Dec. 1, when they host the Syracuse Silver Knights. Baltimore is also off until Dec. 1 when they start a three-game homestand by hosting the Ontario Fury.