The winner and still #1 in the rankings, the Monterrey Flash kept the status quo with an 8-7 overtime win over the San Diego Sockers. The top seven teams went a combined 7-1 and the bottom seven teams went 0-8 suggesting they are who we thought they were (with apologies to the late Dennis Green).
The St. Louis Ambush (7-5 in their last 12) and Sonora Soles (6-4 in their last 10) continue to operate near the margins, but the playoff picture in each conference is vastly different. St. Louis is in 7th place, a full three games back of the fourth playoff spot, while Sonora is comfortably in third place at the moment, despite identical 7-8 records.
San Diego was in rough shape, trailing 4-3 in Sonora last night, after losing their last two games to the Baltimore Blast and Monterrey. After Kraig Chiles tied the game, Slavisa Ubiparipovic appeared to give the lead back when his back pass to Boris Pardo fell about 50 feet short. Enrique Canez went in alone on the Sockers goalie, but Pardo made a good save on his first shot, Canez’s left-footed rebound toward the now-empty net went wide and Wilo Martinez whiffed on the second rebound. On the counterattack Ubiparipovic redeemed himself with a diving header goal on a rebound off the high glass to give the Sockers a 5-4 lead. We can’t be certain, but it looked like the chagrined Ubiparipovic mouthed, “That was bad,” as he sheepishly smiled and high-fived teammates.
It turned out to be the pivotal moment of the game, and it improved San Diego to 2-2 on their killer six-game road trip. It was also the first time that an American team won a game in Mexico this year after those teams had combined to go 0-10 in Monterrey and Sonora.
The Harrisburg Heat got their slightly less harrowing five-game road trip off to a good start with an 11-10 win in Tacoma. The Heat nearly blew a 6-1 lead, but the Stars could only come within one goal on three occasions and not equalize.
The Heat and Sockers get back at it tomorrow at the Kansas City Comets and Orlando SeaWolves, respectively. Harrisburg then plays Saturday in St. Louis and Sunday at the Milwaukee Wave.
On Friday all four teams fighting for the Western Conference fourth seed will be in action with the Mesquite Outlaws at the Ontario Fury and the Turlock Express at Tacoma.
Saturday’s main even will feature the #2 Florida Tropics hosting the #3 Sockers.
Last Week: 1
Maybe something was lost in translation or maybe the cutaways to the crowd every eight seconds killed the atmosphere, or it was the lack of lead changes, but it didn’t feel like playoff intensity when the Flash topped the Sockers 8-7 in overtime, but Monterrey now has a clear path to the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Tropics messed with Texas and set a new franchise record for wins in a season, while extending their winning streak to seven games.
The Sockers lost an overtime heartbreaker in Monterrey, but played one of their best halves of the year in a big 9-6 win in Sonora on the back end of their back-to-back in Mexico.
FCUC held on for a 4-3 home win over the unpredictable St. Louis Ambush to keep pace.
The Blast were all business in blowing out Orlando and Rochester in fitting fashion.
When we saw Harrisburg had a 6-1 lead in Tacoma, our reaction was, “Wow, this is really happening!” but then they gave up nine goals and barely escaped with a 11-10 win. Every win on the road is big for a Heat team that went 2-10 away from home last year.
Sonora’s busy week included road wins in Turlock and Ontario before losing to San Diego at home, but the Soles playoff position is strong.
It’s not futsal, thankfully, but the Ambush will be playing without Walls. Indoor part-timer Tony Walls, the Ambush’s second leading scorer, is heading off to his outdoor team as he usually does this time of year. St. Louis had a good week with a blowout win in Rochester and a near-upset in Utica.
Tacoma almost pulled off a great comeback from 6-1 down that would have gotten them near .500, but instead they fell to 5-8 after losing an important home game to the Heat.
The Fury could only manage three goals in 70 minutes in a shootout loss against Sonora as they continue to not rise to the challenge.
With a few exceptions, Mesquite has done a good job of limiting the damage against teams like Milwaukee, San Diego, and Florida, but they continue to struggle offensively as the losses pile up. The Outlaws have been held to four goals or less six times.
Turlock fell to 3-5 at home and now have seven of their last 11 games on the road.
The Sidekicks hit a new low by being shutout at home for the first time since 1989 as the Florida Tropics rolled 7-0.
Speaking of shutouts, the SeaWolves were shutout at home by the Blast by an identical 7-0 score.
Rochester was almost shutout themselves, but managed to light the lamp once in a 9-1 loss to Baltimore. A season-high eight goals against St. Louis was little consolation as the Lancers allowed 16 Ambush goals.