In a year with relative parity, the differences from the top to the bottom of the MASL are widening. You have six top teams, seven mediocre teams, and four awful teams.
Out of those middle teams, the St. Louis Ambush, Orlando SeaWolves, and Dallas Sidekicks have shifted into fade mode. It’s looking more and more like the Kansas City Comets will hold on for the final playoff spot in the South Central Division, while the Tacoma Stars and Ontario Fury are too close to call in the Pacific Division playoff race.
The Baltimore Blast moved into a tie at #3 in our weekly rankings after winning eight of their last nine in impressive fashion. Utica City FC is just trying to get healthy for the playoffs after surviving the weekend without Slavisa Ubiparipovic, Bo Jelovac, and Joey Tavernese.
Looking at Week 18, on Friday St. Louis will get their last chance of the season to end a losing streak that has extended to 24 games against the Milwaukee Wave. A big Sunday is on tap with Utica hosting Baltimore, the Rio Grade Valley Flash play at the Monterrey Flash again, and the Tacoma Stars host the San Diego Sockers.
The Sockers have won 17 straight and five of the last six games were not even close.
Like a tsunami, the Wave decimated the Tropics, 9-1.
Utica got revenge on Mississauga, 6-1, and squeaked out a 7-5 win in Harrisburg despite playing without their three leading scorers.
The Blast continued their second half charge, winning their last three games by a combined 24-5 score. William Vanzela has been impenetrable and Tony Donatelli heated up with nine points over the weekend.
Monterrey virtually locked down the Southwest Division by bumping off Rio Grande Valley, 3-1, in the lowest scoring game of the year.
The Barracudas need to pretty much run the table to overtake Monterrey for the division title.
The Comets look poised to finally claim the playoff spot that a trio of South Central teams seemed to be trying their best to avoid like the plague.
The Ambush’s turnaround season is about to fall just short of the playoffs.
Ontario took care of business against El Paso and now gets to host Turlock, but then their last two games are against San Diego and Monterrey.
The Sidekicks strong run of play has come to an abrupt end resulting in three straight losses by a combined score of 29-8.
The Heat racked up 15 goals on Orlando and then played Utica to a one-goal game (before three sixth attacker goals distorted the score).
Injuries, poor defense, poor goaltending, and a general lack of continuity have contributed to seven losses in their last nine games.
Florida got schooled by Milwaukee, 9-1.
The MetroStars followed up a rare win by losing 6-1 and 9-2 to Utica and Baltimore, respectively.
Turlock presented little resistance in a 9-3 loss to a Sockers team that rested Kraig Chiles, Landon Donovan, Boris Pardo, and Brian Farber.
El Paso saw Turlock’s 9-3 loss to San Diego and raised them an 8-2 loss to Ontario.