Tropics erase three-goal deficit but late goal breaks hearts as San Diego wins, 5-4

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics climbed all the way back from a three-goal deficit in the second half before giving up a power play goal with 35 seconds to play to fall to the San Diego Sockers, 5-4, in a Major Arena Soccer League Game Saturday night on SYKES Field.

Anthony Arico scored a short handed goal, his second of the season, to tie the game at 4-4 with 1:18 remaining, but Brandon Escoto scored from deep in the right corner on a perfectly placed shot for the game winner at 14:25 of the fourth.

San Diego, which improved to 16-3 on the year, built their lead on goals by two goals by Brian Farber and singles by Chad Haggerty and Hiram Ruiz.

Florida got a first quarter score from Ricardinho, and then scores from Guilherme late in the third quarter and Mauricio Salles in the fourth before Arico's tally. The loss drops the Tropics to 9-9, two full games behind Syracuse for second place in the MASL eastern division.

The Tropics ended their 11-game home schedule with a 5-6 mark, and will hit the road to finish the regular with four games, starting Friday, Feb. 23 in Harrisburg, and Saturday, Feb. 24 in Baltimore. The last two games are March 3 in Milwaukee and March 4 in Kansas City. All four games will be broadcast live at

The Lakeland Tropics, Florida's sister franchise in the USL Premier Development League, will kick off their 14-game regular season schedule at home Saturday, May 12 against Next Academy Palm Beat at Lakeland's historic Bryant Stadium. Lakeland is also awaiting word on an invitation to play in the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup which starts May 9.