Things got more interesting in Week 3 with the Florida Tropics downing the Milwaukee Wave in overtime. The Tropics dominated the late fourth quarter and overtime.
We didn’t think Joey Tavernese would see a lot of action this year, but he has made a big early impact, while the Tropics have been without Gordy Gurson (injured), and Wilo Martinez (visa). Likewise Matt Clare is playing his best ball in a couple seasons.
It’s hard right now to imagine the Eastern Conference playoff field as anything other than Milwaukee, Florida, Utica City FC, and the Baltimore Blast, but the Harrisburg Heat are emerging as a darkhorse.
Joining Harrisburg in that 5th place space are the Western Conference’s Turlock Cal Express and Tacoma Stars. In the short term, Turlock suffered their first loss of the season, but in the longer term, their overtime loss to Tacoma was a solid result.
We were down on the St. Louis Ambush after losing Justin Stinson and Zach Reget this offseason, but they were probably going to lose these first three games (at least the two Milwaukee games) even with those two players. With everything going against the Ambush and Orlando SeaWolves, they both have to deal with a relentless schedule. Neither team has a path to .500 without grabbing a handful of wins from teams like Milwaukee and Baltimore.
The MASL has finally agreed to allow the Ontario Fury to play this week, and they dive right into the fray with a trip to the San Diego Sockers Friday. The Fury also have to go to Tacoma Sunday.
This weekend’s only other big game comes Saturday when Utica and Baltimore tangle for the third time this season.
Last Week: 2
The Outlaws brought the Flash’s offensive juggernaut to a crawl, but Monterrey still escaped Mesquite with a 3-2 win at an awkward 11am road kick-off. And then they picked up Hugo Puentes.
The Wave have a new competitor to worry about after the Florida Tropics invaded UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and left with their championship rings. OK, it was only two rings that went to former Wave players Ricardo Sobreira and Drew Ruggles, but the Tropics did snatch the overtime victory.
Utica City Fire Code held on for a surprisingly close 4-3 win over the Harrisburg Heat and then with 1.8 seconds left both teams busted out a spirited rendition of the Harlem Shake.
The Blast went wild on Orlando scoring an MASL season high 14 goals. Vini Dantas had five goals. Second year Ibrahima “Kalou” Keita has been a revelation in the Blast’s first three games.
The Tropics have big eyes now after upsetting the defending champs on the road. Florida is now 3-0 on the road after going 1-11 away from home last year.
The Outlaws lost their second game, but put on a these-guys-are-for-real performance against the Monterrey Flash. Rookie goalkeeper Eduardo Cortes is alleviating the Outlaws biggest concern with stellar play through two games.
Who’s going to replace Ricardo Carvalho’s 30 goals? Looks like it’s Dominic Francis who has eight markers through three games. Francis was rewarded with a five-year contract extension today. The Heat seem way ahead of the learning curve and they haven’t even seen the 2019-20 debut of injured Tavoy Morgan yet. Six of their first 10 games are against Rochester, so now’s the time to make hay.
The Stars slowed the Turlock uprising, but needed an Adam West overtime goal to do it. Alex Caceres had two goals in his second game with Tacoma. Nick Perera, who had 26 points in five games against Turlock last year, was held to two assists.
We still don’t know if they are playoff contenders, but the Express are no longer pushovers after their third straight down-to-the-wire game.
The game was tied 2-2 in the third quarter and then suddenly Sonora went crazy, alternately scoring on Sidekicks goalkeeper Juan Gamboa and sixth attacker Ricardinho Cavalcante, including five goals in the game’s final five minutes.
The Ambush have only mustered seven goals in three games, but have kept the opposition under eight goals in each of three games. Two second half fades against Milwaukee are concerning, as is the lack of offense, but as long as the defense holds, the offense can catch up.
The SeaWolves traded Hugo Puentes to Monterrey as hope of several talented players getting visa clearance continues to diminish. Orlando has already released or traded at least three of their key offseason signings. While the Blast might have taken their foot off the gas, the SeaWolves kept playing hard in the second half and put together a pretty decent third quarter.
Dallas suffered an 11-3 second half run by the Sonora Soles to remain winless through three games.
Rochester allowed a season low seven goals, but only scored once in Saturday’s loss at Harrisburg.