Tropics welcome Cedar Rapids in second-ever home opener

by Brian Ackley

The Florida Tropics SC will hope for more home opener magic Saturday night when they host the Cedar Rapids Rampage in a 7:35 p.m. kickoff on SYKES Field at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.

It was exactly one year ago to the day, Nov. 11, 2016, when the Tropics were officially born, scoring a dramatic 6-5 win over one of the sports most storied franchises, the San Diego Sockers.

Trailing 4-1 in the fourth quarter, the Tropics staged a furious rally capped by a spectacular goal from Ricardo Diegues with 31 seconds to play, sending shock waves throughout the Major Arena Soccer League, and stamping the Tropics as a team to be reckoned with despite their expansion statius.

Florida went on to finish a respectable 8-12, keeping their playoff hopes alive all the way to the last weekend of the season.

The Tropics split a pair of road games last weekend in their season openers, taking a 10-5 decision against the RGV Barracudas, behind two-goal games from Diegues, Mauricio Salles and Maycon Franca. The following night in Monterrey, the Flash heralded their return to the MASL after a two-year absence with a 9-4 win. Salles again had two goals, as did Lucas Coutinho, who had three for the weekend.

All veterans and first-responders can claim up to four free tickets for the game in honor of Veterans Day and for efforts made during Hurricane Irma. Call the Tropics ticket office no later than Nov. 10 at 863-240-0101 to redeem the offer made courtesy of Bond Clinic, Care Plus and Healthy Partners.

The game, as are all Tropics games home and away, will also be broadcast live at