Hey big guy, Sun’s getting real low on the 2018/19 regular season. The penultimate week of the season features only seven games.
Meanwhile we saw the Monterrey Flash shore up their hold on the Southwest Division with another win, 8-7 in overtime, over the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas.
With major players out for both sides and the playoff dates already decided, the Baltimore Blast still took pride in escaping from Utica with a 5-4 shootout win over Utica City FC.
The Milwaukee Wave and San Diego Sockers both pretended they were going to finally lose, but Milwaukee rallied from 7-4 down to beat the St. Louis Ambush for the 25th straight time, 8-7 in overtime, and the Sockers came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat the Tacoma Stars 8-7.
The Ambush are the first team to complete their schedule and they ended up at 10-14, going 7-12 in their last 19 games, but still far outpacing last year’s 3-19 mark and our 6-18 prediction.
With only one playoff spot still up for grabs, three of this week’s seven games will impact that Pacific Division race between the Ontario Fury and Tacoma Stars. It starts Thursday with the high-profile duel between the Sockers Landon Donovan and Ontario’s Jermaine Jones. Ontario finishes their season needing to steal at least one win from San Diego or Monterrey.
Tacoma heads south for a dangerous back-to-back at the Dallas Sidekicks and Monterrey on Friday and Saturday. A pair of losses would eliminate the Stars.
Sunday, the Barracudas visit the Sockers in a game that has little playoff significance, but will be a big test for San Diego who has faced marginal competition since beating the Barracudas and Flash back in December, when neither team was playing their best soccer.
The Sockers have won 18 straight despite a scare in Tacoma, and will get ready for the playoffs with arguably their three toughest games of the year.
The Wave rallied to yank one away from a fired up Ambush team, 8-7 in overtime, and then humiliated Orlando again, 12-2.
The Blast lost in overtime to Harrisburg 4-3 spoiling backup goalkeeper Mike Zierhoffer’s MASL debut, but gutted out a 5-4 shootout win in Utica the next night, without Vini Dantas or Andrew Hoxie.
Utica can still win the division, but dropped a heartbreaker to the Blast, who were just 5-5 on the road. City, State, and ZIP were also without Slavisa Ubiparipovic, and Joey Tavernese left the game midway as he continues to suffer with a quad contusion.
Monterrey is quietly heating up in the Western Conference with nine wins in their last 10 games.
The Barracudas have faded in the division race, but still present a formidable challenge for Monterrey in the Southwest Division Finals, as evidenced by Sunday’s tightly contested 8-7 overtime meeting between the two teams.
The Comets are a season-high three games over .500.
Ontario had fun picking apart Turlock 12-2, but won’t have an easy time against San Diego and Monterrey, who are a combined 37-5, to finish the season.
Tacoma had San Diego on the ropes but, like their 5-4 shootout loss to Ontario on March 15, the Stars failed to get the job done at home and now their season hangs in the balance.
The Ambush lost five of their last six games, but finally have a good foundation to build on for next year.
The Heat picked up two more victories including a second win of the season against Baltimore. Harrisburg has won nine of their last 15 and are 8-3 at home.
The Sidekicks finished 5-0 against El Paso with an 8-4 win Sunday.
Orlando’s slump hit 11 games with their 8th and 9th losses in that span coming against Kansas City and Milwaukee. Piotr Sliwa is 0-4 with a 13.47 GAA over his last four starts.
The rest of Florida isn’t very sunny either. The Tropics have lost 13 of 16.
The MetroStars dropped a pair of close games to Utica and Harrisburg.
It only took Ontario 20 seconds to get a lead on Turlock and from there they cruised to a 12-2 win.
El Paso is the only MASL team to lose 20 games in a season and they have now done it twice in three seasons.