Hannah feels much better, and is ready to beat her dad at picks this week. If it’s anything like last week, she will need to go undefeated to do that, as I went 12-1, only missing the Milwaukee/Kansas City game. Week 8 has 12 games on the schedule, including a great Monday night matchup in Orlando. So, who do we have winning this week? Scroll down to find out!

FRIDAY 1/18:

KANSAS CITY over St. Louis: The Comets are flying high after doing what no other team has been able to do this season: beat the Wave. Their reward is two home games against the St. Louis Ambush and Utica City (which we will get into later). These teams have played each other three times already this season, with Kansas City winning the most recent matchup 10-4 in St. Louis. The Comets have momentum on their side, while St. Louis has a chance to retake second place in the South Central Division as motivation for this particular game. Kansas City is at home, and should be able to defeat the Ambush. I’ll go with a three goal victory for the Comets, 8-5. HANNAH’S PICK: Off to a rousing start. I tell Hannah the team names, and she says “There.” She then says, St. Louis.

TACOMA over San Diego: My first upset of the week takes place up in Kent, Washington as the Stars host the San Diego Sockers. Last week, Tacoma almost squeaked by Monterrey, losing in the final seconds, and easily defeated Ontario. San Diego needed a half to warm up against El Paso, but once the whistle blew for the 3rd quarter to start, the Sockers were all business, and cruised to a 7-4 victory. Danny Waltman was up to the task the last time these two teams met, in which he was named MASL Player of the Week for Week 4, and he is capable to shutting down San Diego a second time. A low scoring game is on the horizon, so a 4-3 Stars victory sounds good to me! HANNAH’S PICK: Make that two for Tacoma. Hannah is picking the Stars.

SATURDAY 1/19:

BALTIMORE over Harrisburg: The Heat continue their tour of the Eastern Division, as they travel back to Baltimore to face the Blast. Last Saturday, Harrisburg hung with Baltimore for two quarters, but unfortunately for them, the MASL has four quarters, and Baltimore outscored the Heat 6-1 in the final two for a 9-4 final score. On Sunday, Harrisburg went toe-to-toe with Utica City, but eventually fell 6-4. Believe me, I would LOVE for an upset on Saturday, but I see the SECU Arena streak continuing. The Blast take this one 8-4. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is also taking Baltimore in this one, giving the Heat an 0-3 record in their six-game swing of games against Baltimore and Utica.

MILWAUKEE over Florida: It’s pretty cold in Milwaukee, so the Wave are heading to the Sunshine State to work on their tans, and play a couple of games. First up, a date with the Tropics, who lost to Milwaukee’s next opponent, the Orlando SeaWolves, by an 11-6 score. Milwaukee, as previously mentioned, lost to the Kansas City Comets last week, so they need a bounce back victory to stay in the driver’s seat for home field advantage in the Eastern Conference. Florida has shown traces of brilliance this season, and will be a formidable opponent for the Wave. But, the Wave will once again beat the Tropics on the road 7-4. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is taking the upset in this game and is going with Florida.

UTICA over St. Louis: Utica continues to lead the Eastern Division after beating both Mississauga on the road, and Harrisburg at home. Both games were too close for comfort for Coach Ryan Hall and the guys. The next two games are critical, especially in the race for home field advantage in both the divisional and conference playoffs. The Ambush are coming off of a 7-1 loss against the Milwaukee Wave. St. Louis will need to bounce back after playing a game the night before against Kansas City. I’ll take Utica for the win, 9-6. HANNAH’S PICK: Since we watch them all the time, she’s picking Utica. On a side note, she’s singing about Utica Club.

DALLAS over El Paso: In the final game of Saturday night, the Sidekicks travel to El Paso to face a Coyotes team that gave the San Diego Sockers a run for their money on Sunday, losing 7-4. Dallas also suffered a defeat in their last game, losing to the Monterrey Flash 5-1. Overtime was needed the last time these teams met, with Dallas pulling off the win 10-9. I don’t see the game going into overtime this time, but I also don’t see a blowout. Dallas 8, El Paso 6. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going with the Sidekicks on this one.

SUNDAY 1/20:

BALTIMORE over Mississauga: The MetroStars return to Baltimore to face the Blast. I’m sure Mississauga fans will remember the first game of the season, an 11-3 thrashing at the hands of Baltimore. The MetroStars have improved greatly since that first game, taking both Utica and Baltimore down to the wire in recent games. It wouldn’t surprise me if this is the first game for backup goalie Joey Kapinos. So the scoring will be on the higher side I think. Baltimore 9, Mississauga 5. HANNAH’S PICK:  Hannah thinks this will also be a close game and is going with the Blast.

KANSAS CITY over Utica: I’ve heard that this game might be moved up to accommodate the NFL playoff game taking place in Kansas City. If that’s the case, Utica will be coming into the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena rather tired. A 2-0 record on this midwest road trip would be a huge confidence booster for Utica City, but I see the Comets sneaking away with a victory in this one. Prove me wrong guys. Kansas City 8, Utica 7. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is sticking with her team, and going with Utica.

MONTERREY over Rio Grande Valley: A team that is flying under the radar right now is Rio Grande Valley. In their last four games, they took Monterrey and San Diego to overtime, and defeated both Tacoma and Turlock. Meanwhile, Monterrey is starting to turn their wheels a little after beating Tacoma 9-8. Franck Tayou will probably be the Week 7 Player Of The Week after a five-goal performance against the Stars. The Barracudas will be looking for revenge after that overtime loss, but the Flash will leave Hidalgo, Texas sooner than Rio Grande Valley thinks. Monterrey 7, Rio Grande Valley 5. HANNAH’S PICK: I think the only reason Hannah picks Rio Grande Valley is so she can say “Barracudas….!!!”. She likes the upset in this one.

ONTARIO over Tacoma: Tacoma goes on the road after hosting San Diego on Friday. The last game Ontario played was against the same Stars team, which ended in an 8-5 loss for the Fury. These teams play each other only two more times this season; once on Sunday, then in Washington in March. As you know, if the teams tie at the end of the season, it will come down to head-to-head record against each other. In a nutshell, this game is huge for both teams. Adrien Perez is back from a concussion, and is already back in the lead for goals in the MASL this season. I see a big game coming from him and his Fury teammates. Ontario takes this 7-6. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going against her father once again, and picking Tacoma on the road.

SAN DIEGO over Turlock: San Diego returns home after a road game against Tacoma on Friday night. They face a Turlock team that almost picked up their first win last week against El Paso, but also suffered a huge loss to Rio Grande Valley. Unfortunately for Turlock, their losing streak will continue. San Diego takes this one 10-2. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is going to go with the Sockers in this one as well.

MILWAUKEE over Orlando: The Wave are involved in another Monday night matchup, but this time it’s against South Central division opponent Orlando. The SeaWolves are coming off of an 11-6 thrashing of their in-state rivals, the Florida Tropics. Is this a turning point in Orlando’s season? The next three games will tell the tale, as they play Milwaukee, then on the road against both St. Louis and Utica City. I see Milwaukee winning this one, although it’s going to be much closer than people are expecting. Milwaukee 7, Orlando 5. HANNAH’S PICK: Hannah is riding the Wave and going with Milwaukee as well.

As I’m finishing up the picks for this week, I am finding out that there has been a trade involving Utica City, so I’ll use this article to share my thoughts on the trade itself. Utica City has acquired Freddy Moojen from the Florida Tropics in exchange for Andre Braithwaite. This is quite the deal for Utica, and a head scratcher for Florida. The Tropics are giving up one of their huge playmakers for Braithwaite, a definite presence in the forward position.  Florida also acquired Antonio Manfut in a trade the day before, so the Tropics are poised and ready to go for that second playoff spot in the South Central Division. But, at what cost? Yesterday’s trade was a win for the Tropics in my opinion. I’ve watched Antonio Manfut play throughout his career, and know what he is capable of. He has started the season slow, but a change of scenery could unlock the key to Manfut’s potential. In today’s trade, Utica won this round. I’m going to miss Andre and I wish him the best of luck in Florida. But, overall, Moojen’s talent and playmaking ability fits in Utica’s system better than Braithwaite. Of course with any trades, we will need to see who made out better after some games have been played, so we will revisit this in a month or so.

Merlin –
Last week: 12-1, Season: 52-16

Hannah –
Last week: nurse’s office, Season 21-18

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, MASL Nation! What say you? Let’s hear what you have to say about the games or the big trades that took place this week! Until next week, stay safe!