Tropics tangle with Ambush for New Year's Eve matinee in St. Louis

by Brian Ackley

ST CHARLES, Mo. – The Florida Tropics SC will look for a decidedly different result this year when they take a holiday jaunt to the nation's heartland for a Major Arena Soccer League matchup against the St. Louis Ambush.

Kickoff is set for 2:05 p.m. central standard time on Sunday, Dec. 31. The two teams will meet for a second time this season on Friday, Jan. 12 on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

Last New Year's Eve, Florida played in Cedar Rapids, with the Rampage hanging a franchise worst-ever loss on the Tropics, 13-2.

Two regulars, one from each side, will be serving one-game league mandated suspensions from an accumulation of penalty points. Anthony Arico, who played two seasons in St. Louis, will be out of the Florida lineup, while starting Ambush goaltender Paulo Nascimento will also sit. Casey Clark, who started 16 games for St. Louis last year, is expected to get the start in goal.

The Ambush is just 1-9 this season, but have been more competitive than last year, when they finished just 1-19, with their lone win coming against the expansion Tropics in St. Louis. The Ambush also lost 4-3 in one of two games in Lakeland last January. St. Louis has had one-goal losses to league powers Baltimore, Milwaukee (in overtime) and Cedar Rapids (also in overtime) so far in 2017-18.

Player-coach Hewerton Moriera leads the Ambush with three goals and 12 assists, while Tropics assistant coach and captain Freddy Moojen, who played with the Ambush in the 2015-16 MASL season, paces the Florida offense with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. Teammate Ricardo Diegues also has 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) to date.

The game will be broadcast live at Florida returns for a three-game homestand starting Saturday, Jan. 6 when they host Syracuse, following by a Jan. 12 visit from the Ambush and a Jan. 20 showdown with the Kansas City Comets. Tickets are available by calling the team's offices at 863-240-0101, or by visiting the team website at