The holiday season is upon us! In some places, the snow is flying, and in others, sunshine and warmth. But, all over the country, one thing is certain: The MASL is running rampant through your town. Week 9 brings four games, each with its own intrigue. Let’s dive into the picks.
On Thursday night, El Paso travels to face Soles de Sonora. These two teams have met once this season with El Paso edging their neighbors to the south, 10-9 on overtime. Soles is coming off of a split against the Tacoma Stars last weekend, dominating the first game, and losing a heartbreaker in the second. El Paso ran into the buzzsaw that is Monterrey last weekend losing both games of a home and home. So, what happens in this game? I see El Paso winning this one by a small margin. Soles will be without Victor Quiroz for the next two games, as he is serving a suspension for an elbow in Sunday’s matchup at Tacoma. He will be missed. For Soles to win, they will need to rely on “King” Franck Tayou. El Paso, with Christian Gutierrez at the helm, will weather the storm in Sonora.
On Friday, the Central Division will be on showcase, as all four teams will be competing in divisional matches. The first game will be Cedar Rapids hosting St. Louis. Let’s be real: We all knew the Ambush were going to win sometime this year. The question was when, not if. I don’t think anyone saw them winning against a Cedar Rapids team that defeated divisional powerhouse Kansas City three times in two weeks. But, Hewerton Moreira, Pablo Da Silva, and the rest of the Ambush team, dug down deep, and pulled off a dramatic overtime victory, breaking a 22-game losing streak. To quote one of my favorite movies, Major League, “We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that’s two in a row. If we win one tomorrow that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before. SO LET’S SEE SOME HUSTLE! SO LET’S JACK IT UP A LITTLE!” Will they continue their winning ways in Cedar Rapids? It is possible, but not probable. Give me Cedar Rapids at home. They will be looking for revenge, and will get it Friday night. Each game in this series has been close, and I expect another close game in Week 9.
In the other Friday night game, Kansas City hosts “the ‘Kee”, as Wave announcer Art Kramer calls it. The Silverstein Eye Centers Arena will be rocking with holiday cheer, but as for the outcome of this game, the Comets will be getting coal. The Wave will win this. Kansas City will be without one of its key defensive cogs in Stefan Stokic, who is out for the season with an ACL injury. Also, it’s good to see the return of Anthony Grant, to the indoor game. As a Syracuse Silver Knights fan, I followed Anthony when he was a Knight in the 2014-2015 season. Known for his speed, he is a huge asset to this Comets team. Now, back to the game. The Wave have too many weapons, and all will be on display in Kansas City.
The lone game on Saturday has Harrisburg traveling to warm and sunny (I’m assuming) Florida to face the Tropics. Let me start off by saying, that would be one heck of a Christmas present right there! If we were going to predict this game based off of the weather forecast for Saturday, Florida would wipe the floor with Harrisburg, although it’s supposed to be 50 in the Keystone State on the 23rd, which is fairly warm for this time of year. But, this game is going to be settled on the field, not in the skies! The Eastern Division is from top to bottom, the most competitive division in the MASL. On any given night, any team can pull off an upset. Florida beat Baltimore, Syracuse beat Harrisburg and Florida, Harrisburg beat Baltimore (in a shootout). Each team was the underdog in these games. With that said, can Harrisburg pull off another upset? They could, but won’t. Harrisburg is coming off of a huge win against the Blast last weekend, while Florida lost a heartbreaker to the Blast the night before. This game is huge in the race for 2nd in the Eastern Division, and Florida will widen the gap with a win on Saturday night.
So to recap:
El Paso > Soles
Cedar Rapids > St. Louis
Milwaukee > Kansas City
Florida > Harrisburg
Last week, wasn’t a bad week for Merlin, going 10-4. MASL Nation, I wish you and yours a Happy Holidays! Be on the lookout for a Christmas post on what each team is asking for this Holiday season. Until then, catch you on the flip side!
LAST WEEK: 10-4
OVERALL: 52-14 (.788)