Tropics hit the road again for back-to-back games this weekend

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Florida Tropics SC will play back-to-back road games for the second time in three weekends when they travel to meet the St. Louis Ambush Friday night (Dec. 9) and then take on the Blast in Baltimore on Saturday (Dec. 10).

The Ambush are one of two Major Arena Soccer League teams still looking for their first win of the 2016-17. (El Paso, an expansion team like Florida, is the other.) Tropics owner Andrew Haines owned the Ambush for the previous three seasons, before selling his interest in the team to become owner of the first-year Florida franchise.

The Tropics, 2-3, continue to be up and down on offense, scoring just one goal in two of their three losses, and have a goal differential of minus-11. St Louis (0-5) has a goal differential of minus-19. Florida's leading scorer is Ricardo Diegues, with six point (four goals and two assists). The Ambush are led by Carlos Contreras, who has four goals and an assist.

This will be the first of three meetings between the Ambush and Tropics. The two teams will meet on the same weekend two times in Lakeland on Jan. 13 and 15.

This will be the final of three regular season meetings between Florida and Baltimore (3-1), with the Blast taking the first two, 7-1 in Baltimore on Nov. 18 and 5-1 in Lakeland on Dec. 3. Baltimore, the defending MASL champs, have a goal differential of plus 14 and are led offensively by Tony Donatelli (4-8-12). Netminder William Vanzela leads the league in goals against average at 3.02, and is third in the league in save percentage (.755).

Both games will be broadcast live on MASL.TV via YouTube, which can be accessed through the team's website at Florida will be back home at the Lakeland Center on Saturday, Dec. 17. to host the Kansas City Comets. Tickets for the game are also available at the website, or by calling 863-333-5353.