Happy 2019 MASL Nation! I spent the first day of 2019 the same way I ended 2018, by watching Sunday’s slugfest between Utica City and Baltimore. On the MASL Off The Wall Facebook page, there’s been a discussion on spicing up certain terms in indoor soccer. There have been several creative terms given by the fans, so I’ve decided to bring Hannah, my five-year old daughter, into the discussion. I will not be giving her any assistance, and everything she says will be written verbatim. So, here it goes:

Blue Card – Bonjour

Red Card – Bon Appetit

Yellow Card – Snowflake

Too Many Men On The Field – That’s a really hard one. Take Some Off

Top Of The Arc – Christmas Tree

Blocked Shot – Snowman (Apparently she’s in a winter theme.)

She’s quite the creative little girl. And she’s not too bad at picking games, as she almost beat me again last week. What will this week bring? Let’s find out.

THURSDAY 1/3:

BALTIMORE over Mississauga: The first game of the week has the Blast traveling to the outskirts of Toronto to take on the MetroStars. Baltimore is coming off of a 6-3 loss against Utica City, while Mississauga edged Harrisburg on Sunday 7-6. The Blast played a great game on Sunday without one of their key players, Tony Donatelli. With or without him, Baltimore will bounce back from last Sunday with a victory over Mississauga 7-3. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going with Baltimore as well.

ONTARIO over Turlock: The Fury and Express have had two of the most exciting games recently, with both games resulting in one goal victories for Ontario. I’ve always felt that a smaller field is the ultimate equalizer, so the results from Turlock don’t surprise me. Turlock now travels to Ontario to face Chris Toth and the Fury, who have started the season with a 5-2 record. A bigger field will mean big problems for Turlock. The Fury take this one 10-4. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah’s upset of the week takes place on Thursday as she’s picking the Express to pick up their first win of the season.

FRIDAY 1/4:

TACOMA over El Paso: New coach Nick Perera is starting his home tenure after road victories over Ontario and San Diego, putting them atop the Pacific Division. They travel to El Paso to face a Coyotes team that lost to Dallas last week 10-7. Danny Waltman stood on his head a couple of weeks ago, giving him MASL Player of the Week honors, but I don’t see him having to do that as much this week. Tacoma rolls over the Coyotes 8-3. HANNAH’S PICK: She’s going with “Dacoma”.

SAN DIEGO over Turlock: After facing Ontario the night before, Turlock gets some home cooking on Friday, as they host San Diego. The Sockers are coming off of a huge 7-6 overtime victory over the Monterrey Flash, which could be a Western Conference final preview. The gears in San Diego are starting to turn, and will continue to turn in Turlock. I don’t see this game being a blowout, as they are playing on a smaller size field. Give me the Sockers 7-5. HANNAH’S PICK: After going with Turlock at first, she changed her mind and is now going with San Diego.

SATURDAY 1/5:

MILWAUKEE over Mississauga: The start of 2019 for Mississauga will be brutal, as their next three opponents are Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Utica. The good news for them is that they are playing all of these games at home. The bad news is their three opponents are the three time defending MASL champs, and the two teams with the best record right now. The Wave are coming off of a 11-5 thrashing of St. Louis on New Year’s Eve. If Milwaukee gets a big lead in this one, don’t be surprised if they take their foot off of the pedal, as they have a date with Utica the next afternoon. The MetroStars will rally in the 4th quarter, but it won’t be enough. The Wave go 5-0 after beating Mississauga 9-6. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is filled with upsets this week as she’s going with the MetroStars.

DALLAS over El Paso: These two teams met last week as previously mentioned, with the Sidekicks coming out on top in El Paso. They are playing this one at home, so I expect a similar result. I have an idea for Sidekicks fans. Every time Dallas goes on the power play, all Power Player hot dogs are half off. Just a thought. Oh, by the way, Dallas wins 7-4. HANNAH’S PICK: Another upset in the making as she has El Paso taking this one.

FLORIDA over St. Louis: The Tropics took Round 1 of the I-4 rivalry, by defeating Orlando in Lakeland, 9-6. St. Louis is in a bit of a slump right now, losing to both Kansas City and Milwaukee last week in key South Central division match-ups. I like both teams, but I can only pick one. Florida has impressed me over the last couple of weeks, so I will go with them 8-6. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going with the Tropics as well.

SAN DIEGO over Ontario: A key Pacific Division match-up takes place on Saturday as the Fury travels to San Diego to face a Sockers team that will have played in Turlock the day before. This will be the first game for Chris Toth at his old stomping grounds in San Diego. If the Fury are to win this game, Toth needs a HUGE game, just like Danny Waltman did a couple of weeks prior. A low scoring affair will take place but I see the Sockers pulling off the 5-4 victory. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah thinks Chris Toth will have a huge game and is going with the Fury.

SUNDAY 1/6:

UTICA over Milwaukee: When I did my bold predictions for this season, I said Milwaukee could possibly lose to Eastern division teams, such as Baltimore and Utica. I’m going to stick to that. In my opinion, Utica City FC fans, this is the game of the year for the team. Milwaukee could come into Adirondack Bank Arena with a 5-0 record, and will look to go 6-0. This will be their only meeting of the season, until a possible playoff match-up in April. The Wave are fast, and very offensive minded, scoring around 10 goals a game so far this season. With Utica, it’s more of a defense first mentality, only giving up five goals a game. So, who wins in an offense versus defense type game? In this case, I will take Utica and their defense. Milwaukee fans will be blue, just like Utica’s turf, after this game. Utica 6, Milwaukee 4. HANNAH’S PICK: As I ask her this, she laughs at me, and says Utica City.

KANSAS CITY over Florida: Florida’s midwest trip continues as they head to Kansas City to face a struggling Comets team. Both teams will be coming into this game with victories over the St. Louis Ambush over the last week, so a win here would be huge. Like San Diego, this Comets team is starting to turn the gears a little bit. Teams with blue turf will go 2-0 this week after Kansas City takes down Florida in a shootout 10-8. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah likes Florida in this contest.

MONTERREY over Dallas: The Flash need a bounce back win after losing a heartbreaker to San Diego last week. They will get one at home against a Dallas Sidekicks team that will have played the night before. Travel plus a game the night before equals tired legs and it will show. Monterrey take this one 8-4. HANNAH’S PICK: I like that. Monterrey.

RIO GRANDE VALLEY over Tacoma: My upset special this week is the final game of Week 6 in the MASL season as Tacoma travels to face a Barracudas team that almost beat the Monterrey Flash in their last game back on December 23rd. An overtime loss to the Flash will motivate Rio Grande Valley, as they face another huge task in the Tacoma Stars. The Barracudas will pull off the upset 5-3. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going against her dad and is going with the Stars.

Now onto my Week 6 fantasy lineup: GOALTENDER: William Vanzela (Baltimore), DEFENDERS: JP Reyes (Florida) and Ben Ramin (Utica), MIDFIELDERS: Max Ferdinand (Milwaukee) and Brandon Escoto (San Diego), FORWARD: VcMor Eligwe (Dallas)

Merlin –
Last week: 6-3, Season: 31-12

Hannah –
Last week: 5-4, Season 18-9

Week 6 is loaded with amazing games, and possible playoff match-ups, both within the division and conference. What say you MASL Nation? Let’s hear it!