Tropics lookk for fifth straight win to start season as Dallas Sidekicks visit Saturday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. –  The Florida Tropics will look to tie a team record for most wins to start a season when they host the Dallas Sidekicks in a Major Arena Soccer League game Saturday at the RP Funding Center.

The game will now be a 6:05 p.m. start, with a live and free broadcast available through Facebook Live by using the link

The Tropics (4-0) opened last year with a five-game win streak, and are looking to duplicate that feat with Saturday’s start, the last of a five-game homestand to start the 2021 year. Florida posted an 18-3 mark last season – at one stretch winning nine straight games – to earn the Eastern Conference championship. 

Dallas comes in at 0-2, and is led by former Tropics star Freddy Moojen, who has three goals so far this year. Playing for the first two plus seasons for Florida, Moojen is third on the Tropics all-time scoring list with 44 goals and 30 assists, behind No. 2 Ricardo Diegues (69, 29) and current team captain Victor Parreiras (67, 49). 

Ian Bennett has been every bit the superstar for the Tropics that he has been with the Milwaukee Wave, who will not be playing this season because of pandemic restrictions in Wisconsin. He is on a one-year contract with Florida for the current campaign, and his rights will revert back to the Wave at the end of the season. 

Bennett leads the team with seven goals – three on the powe rplay – and four assists. He leads the entire MASL in goals, assists and total points. Goalkeeper Hugo Silva leads the league in wins, goals against average and save percentage. 

After Saturday, the Tropics will get a well earned weekend off, having played five games in 14 days, before traveling to St. Louis for dates against the Ambush on Jan. 29 and 31. Florida will play four times in February, including a Feb. 12 visit to rematch the Sidekicks in Dallas, and hosting a four-team tournament Feb. 18-21 at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland that will also feature the San Diego Sockers, Tacoma Stars and Ontario Fury who will combine to play six games in four days, starting Thursday, Feb. 18 as the Tropics kick off against the Tacoma Stars.

The league is announcing schedules only a month at a time because of the pandemic restrictions, but the final games of the regular season will be played by April 18.

Single game tickets are available through the team’s Facebook page (click on the event link), or by calling 863-240-0101. Tickets will also be available gameday at the RP Funding Center box office. The team and arena have devised a socially distanced seating plan that can accommodate approximately 1,500 fans per game. Facial coverings will be required for those in attendance.