Tropics rally goes for naught as Sockers top Florida 5-4 in overtime in first playoff game

by Brian Ackley

INDEPENDENCE, Missouri -- A late rally by the Florida Tropics went for naught Thursday in Kansas City as the San Diego Sockers had a rally of their own to take game one of the Major Arena Soccer League playoff semi-final round by a 5-4 score in overtime.

Florida trailed 3-1 heading into the fourth quarter, but found an unlikely scorer in defender Joshio Sandoval, who banged in a pair to tie the game at three midway through the final period. Ian Bennett got what might have been the game winner with just 2:35 to play to give the Tropics their first lead of the game.

But San Diego's Tavoy Morgan, with the Sockers playing with an extra attacker, got the equalizer with 97 seconds to play before teammate Brian Farber got the "golden goal" with his score at the 7:57 mark of the extra period.

San Diego -- which has 14 national indoor soccer championships dating back to their berth in the late 1970s -- takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-two series. The Tropics are playing in their first ever MASL post-season in their five year existence.

The two teams will tangle again Saturday afternoon in Kansas City, where the MASL is conducting its semi-finals due to Covid-19 issues at many arenas around the league. Should the Tropics win that one, a 15-minute "mini game" would immediately follow, with the winner of that game moving on to the league finals next weekend in St. Louis.

San Diego advanced to the semi-finals with back-to-back overtime wins over the Tacoma Stars last weekend. The Tropics, who finished the regular season 10-3, earned a first-round playoff bye for being the regular season champions.

The Sockers built a 3-1 lead in the first half with only VcMor Eligwe able to score for Florida less than three minutes into the second quarter. Sandoval had a three-point night, also picking up an assist on Bennett's late marker. 

Saturday's game will start at 3:05 p.m. eastern, and is available to view through the league's Facebook pay-per-view offering. Visit for details.