Tropics get new divisional foes in MASL conference realignment

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics SC will start their third season in the Major Arena Soccer League with a new group of divisional foes after re-alignment of the league teams with the addition of Mississauga Orlando and Dallas to the team line up for the 2018-19 season.

The Tropics will be part of the new “South Central” Division of the Eastern Conference, joined by two of the most historic franchises in the history of indoor soccer, the Milwaukee Wave and Kansas City Comets, along with the newest team in the league, the Orlando SeaWolves.

Florida will kick off a 24-game regular season schedule in early December, with the season running through the end of March, a month later than the previous November to early March schedule that had been in place.

The Tropics played in the MASL Eastern Division for its first two years, finishing third in the four-team division each season, staying alive for a playoff spot each year before being eliminated on the final weekend of the regular season.

“The formation of rivals takes many forms. Some are geographic, and some are born from historic clashes,” said MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “We believe the divisional line up put together provides our fans with the ability to see rivalries renewed and new ones formed. In addition, it provides flexibility to leverage the best dates possible for fans to access their favorite teams.”

The MASL landscape sees a few changes from the last season. The Eastern Division will be a battle throughout. After moving up the road, Utica City FC is loading up to make a divisional run, while their neighbors to the north are set to become the first Canadian team in the MASL, playing in Mississauga’s Paramount Fine Foods Centre. The Harrisburg Heat have a new coach and a new approach to their season, meanwhile everyone will still be gunning for the three-time champion, Baltimore Blast.

In the Western Conference, the Dallas Sidekicks will make their return to the MASL as they re-join their fellow Texas neighbors and last season’s Ron Newman Cup Finalists, the Monterrey Flash, in the Southwest Division. Also returning are the RGV Barracudas and El Paso Coyotes.

The Pacific division is the only one to remain unchanged from last season with the San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars, Ontario Fury and Turlock Express.

The full 2018-2019 schedule is set to be release this fall with the regular season kicking off the weekend of December 1st. Be sure to follow the MASL on social media and check for all the latest on the upcoming season.