Tropics will open 7th MASL season with trip to Baltimore to meet Blast Saturday
LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Florida Tropics, presented by Bond Clinic, will open their seventh season in the Major Arena Soccer League when they travel Saturday, Dec. 10 to meet the Baltimore Blast.
Kickoff is at 6:05 p.m. EST, and the game will be broadcast live on the MASL TV Twitch channel. Live broadcast link HERE.
It will be an East Division showdown as the two rivals meet for the 14th time in Florida’s history with an unusual streak on the line since the Tropics have never lost a season opener. They are 6-0 since their inception, including a 6-4 win in Baltimore to open last season, when Zach Reget scored three goals to lead the way.
“This has been an intense, demanding camp, maybe even a little moreso than in previous seasons. We obviously feel like we have unfinished business and want to make sure we do everything we can to finally bring a MASL title back to Lakeland. Our fans deserve nothing less. -- Florida Tropics Head Coach Clay Roberts
The Tropics, who advanced all the way to the MASL Championships last year before falling to the San Diego Sockers two-games-to-none, return virtually their entire roster intact from last season, including their top four leading scorers including Victor Parreiras (29 goals, 23 assists), Reget (27,16), Ricardo Carvalho (24, 19) and 2019-20 MASL Defender of the Year Drew Ruggles (12,14).
>>>FLORIDA TROPICS GAME NOTES HERE.
>>>BALTIMORE BLAST GAME NOTES HERE.
Also back is the defending MASL Defender of the Year Chad Vandegriffe who recorded 54 blocked shots last season when the Tropics went 18-3 with two additional overtime losses. They have been in training camp since Nov. 18.
“This has been an intense, demanding camp, maybe even a little moreso than in previous seasons,” Head Coach Clay Roberts said. “We obviously feel like we have unfinished business and want to make sure we do everything we can to finally bring a MASL title back to Lakeland. Our fans deserve nothing less.”
Roberts said the tough pre-season is also in anticipation to a tough opening stretch of games, which include two at home against the Blast on Dec. 21 and 23, and the home opener on Saturday, Dec. 17 against Utica City FC.
“It’s something we’ve talked about, getting off to a good start in the division. It’s important for us to pick right up where we left off last year and set the tone early on,” Roberts said. “Both Baltimore and Utica are excellent teams, and will definitely be contenders for an eastern division championship, so we have to be physically and mentally ready for the challenge.”
Baltimore – which won three consecutive MASL championships between 2016 and 2018 and has fielded pro indoor soccer teams every season since the 1980-81 Major Indoor Soccer League campaign -- opened its regular season with a win an 8-7 home win over Utica on Dec. 3 as both Tony Donatelli and Lucas Roque had hat tricks. The Blast also defeated the Tropics 12-4 in Florida’s worst regular season loss last March at the RP Funding Center.