Tropics start first of seven home games in January with visit by Utica City FC Sunday

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla – The Florida Tropics will open 2022 at home with seven straight games at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, starting with a visit Sunday, Jan. 2 when Utica City FC makes the first of two consecutive visits.

The Tropics come in at 3-1 (9 points) which is first in the four-team Eastern Division of the Major Arena Soccer League. Utica (2-2) is second with six points, followed by Baltimore (2-1, five points) and the Harrisburg Heat (0-2, zero points).

Florida is coming off a weekend split of games on Dec. 18 and 19, falling to the Ontario Fury 6-5 in the Tropics’ home opener, followed by a 7-6 win the following day. Utica swept a pair of weekend games from Harrisburg in their most previous outings, 5-4 at home and 9-4 in Harrisburg.

It is the second meeting of the season between the two. Florida handed Utica a 7-1 loss in their home opener on Dec. 5. Rafa Alves led the Tropics offense with two goals, while VcMor Eligwe had a goal and an a

Florida will be without starting goaltender Hugo Silva for Sunday’s game. The MASL suspended Silva following a review of a collision between Ontario’s Franck Tayou and the Tropics goalkeep in Saturday’s game. There was no foul called on the play, but in reviewing the incident, the league’s Discipline Review Committee deemed it a “violent foul” and imposed a one-game (red card) suspension. 

Zach Reget continues to lead the Florida offense with six goals and an assist. Moises Gonzalez is pacing Utica’s attack with four goals and two assists.

The game will be broadcast live on the MASL’s YouTube channel starting at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, with kickoff set for 3:05 p.m.

Local fans can score free general admission to all of the team’s home games this winter thanks to its sponsors who are presenting the “Tropics Blitz”.

The “Tropics Blitz” will provide free general admission tickets  as a way of providing a great evening of family entertainment for parents and kids who have had their activities curtailed because of the ongoing pandemic. Vehicles with two or more persons will pay $20 to park, and then be able to take their parking receipt to the RP Funding Center box office for the same number of free tickets to that day’s game as occupants in the vehicle. Single occupant vehicles will pay just $10 for parking. 

For more information, visit