Let’s Not Make a Habit of This

The San Diego Sockers had no sooner exacted revenge on the Baltimore Blast with an outstanding second half and strong defense, then they got totally outplayed by the Ontario Fury and suffered their fourth loss in seven games. Boris Pardo’s frustration is becoming more visible by the game. Slavisa Ubiparipovic only has seven points in his last eight games. Leonardo De Oliveira won’t score unless he megs five guys and he usually loses the ball around the third or fourth guy. Brandon Escoto is nothing like the force of nature he was last year when he was the MASL’s most exciting player.

Meanwhile the Fury have suddenly won five of six. The way the playoffs are shaping up one would expect the Monterrey Flash to play the Sonora Soles in the first round, leaving the Sockers with an opening series against the Fury.

Who Are These Guys?

The Eastern Conference is full of wonder between Utica City, the Harrisburg Heat, Kansas City Comets, and St. Louis Ambush.

Utica has won fairly consistently, but it’s hard to evaluate a team who has played 10 of their 14 games against the same three teams (Baltimore, Harrisburg, and St. Louis). Utica has lost Ricardo Diegues, one of their top forwards to visa issues (for now) and after barely escaping Dallas with a shootout win, Utica will really be in for a fight in their two-game trip to Sonora at the end of the month.

The Heat are 4-7 if you exclude their games against the Rochester Lancers and they had to beat Sonora, Baltimore, and Milwaukee just to get to that 4-7. At the end of the year everyone is what their record says, but the Heat’s playoff hopes are teetering. If the Heat do get in, it will be fully earned, because the Blast aren’t going to let them back their way into the playoffs.

The Comets inconsistency at least follows a pattern. Kansas City is 7-1 at home and 1-6 on the road. The Ambush have a less-pronounced home-road dynamic, but they tend to win or get blown out wherever they go. Seven of their nine losses have been by four goals or more.

Undefeated!*

The Florida Tropics would be undefeated if it weren’t for those meddling kids in Milwaukee who have now beaten them twice. The Tropics had served notice earlier in the season by beating the Wave on their own turf in overtime. The Wave returned the favor with a one-goal win in Florida, and on Sunday Milwaukee took the rubber match on an Angel Curiel breakaway goal in overtime. Only one out of Florida’s remaining eight games is against a team (8-7 Kansas City) with a winning record.

Looking Ahead

The Wave and Fury will visit the Comets and Ambush, respectively, on Friday. Sonora travels to the Tropics on Saturday.

Sunday will be interesting as the Comets entertain Ontario and the Wave host St. Louis. In the nightcap Harrisburg hosts the Blast in a game that could give Baltimore the tiebreaker in the season series and a 1 1/2 game lead over the Heat, in what would be their fourth loss in five games. Harrisburg will need a win to avoid that grim scenario.

1
Last Week: 1
17-1
The Flash widened their theoretical lead with another win, coupled with Florida’s second loss of the season.
2
LW: 2
14-2
The Tropics winning streak ended at nine after their second straight loss to Milwaukee.
3
LW: 5
11-3
The Revolución almost died in Dallas for the Fidel Castros, but the shootout win ran their winning streak to five.
4
LW: 5
10-4
Joey Kapinos to the rescue. An adrenalized Kapinos won a goalkeepers duel against Brett Petricek and propelled the Wave to a 6-5 overtime win over the first place Tropics.
5
LW: 4
12-5
The Sockers got a huge home win over Baltimore only to get blown out by Ontario in perhaps their worst performance of the season.
6
LW: 6
11-7
The Blast had the opposite week of the Sockers. After a flat second half in San Diego, the Blast returned home to leg out a solid 7-4 win over Harrisburg to climb back into the 4th playoff spot.
7
LW: 7
10-7
The Heat kept pace with the Blast for three quarters, but William Banahene’s strong performance was wasted when the Heat’s offense faltered.
8
LW: 8
9-9
Sonora has won eight of their last 13 despite losing a low scoring game in Monterrey Monday.
9
LW: 10
8-7
The short-handed Comets went against conventional wisdom and blew out the Ambush to move over .500 for only the second time this year.
10
LW: 9
8-9
The consistently inconsistent Ambush had their wheels come off in the second quarter and succumbed to a 7-1 Comets run in a 10-6 loss.
11
LW: 12
7-8
The Fury have won five out of six after blowing out the Sockers 7-3.
12
LW: 11
7-9
Tacoma seemed like the Western Conference’s janky third seed by default, but Sonora and Ontario have seized the momentum.
13
LW: 13
5-11
Mesquite held Tacoma scoreless for 51:26 on the way to finally securing an elusive fifth win.
14
LW: 14
4-11
The overall results haven’t improved much for Turlock, but you have to see Edgar Martinez’s GAA over three goals lower than last year to appreciate the strides the team has made this year.
15
LW: 15
2-14
The Sidekicks made their disenchanted fanbase sit up and take notice of two decent outings.
16
LW: 16
1-13
The SeaWolves taking a skeleton crew to Sonora and “only” losing 11-6 feels like a win.
17
LW: 17
0-16
Rochester only hung around for 16 minutes before giving up nine straight goals in the following 30 minutes in a 14-3 loss in Florida. The Lancers, who are last in offense and defense, have three goalkeepers sporting 10.00+ GAAs.