With the #2-4 teams losing last week there wasn’t much room to move anyone. When we moved the San Diego Sockers below the Harrisburg Heat last week that felt extreme, and the Sockers redeemed themselves for the monent. The Milwaukee Wave lost two road games to San Diego and the Ontario Fury, yes, but that wasn’t as bad as San Diego losing to the Mesquite Outlaws and almost losing to the Dallas Sidekicks. Milwaukee held onto the #4 spot by the slimmest of margins. The Tacoma Stars and Sonora Soles beat the Florida Tropics and Utica City, respectively, but they also lost to Florida and Utica last weekend.
Ain’t Gonna Be No Rematch
The Sockers and Wave battled it out for 15 rounds, well 70 minutes and four rounds of shootouts, until San Diego prevailed 6-5 on Kraig Chiles’s second shootout goal in the tie-breaker. Hopefully these teams won’t need to wait another four years before they get together again.
Soles and the City
Utica City faced their biggest challenge since December and they met it with a 12-11 overtime win in Sonora. The see saw battle featured Utica blowing an 8-6 lead and then rallying from a 10-8 deficit. The game was tied nine times. In the meshugenah immigration situation the MASL has been mired in all season, a trip to Mexico presented an interesting coaching conundrum for City coach Ryan Hall, the ability to put Ricardo Diegues and Diego Zuniga in the lineup, if only for one weekend (Diegues hadn’t been able to play since January 31 and Zuniga has been shelves all year due to visa complications). Any coach would love to have both players on their side, but in a two-off weekend would they disrupt the team’s chemistry on the field? And on the flip side, if things went TOO well, how do you deal with the likelihood that they probably won’t be able to play for you again this year (unless Utica makes it to the championship round and faces Monterrey or Sonora)? It was a mixed result. Diegues was one of the heroes in the first game with four goals, but Utica got destroyed in the second game 14-5. Zuniga, making his long-awaited season debut, had one assist in the two games.
The Sun is Also a Star
We may have written off the underperforming Tacoma Stars prematurely. Sonora had taken up a long residence in the third playoff spot and then the Ontario Fury got hot. Tacoma never got hot, but here they are with a great chance to sneak into the playoffs. Sonora has to play their last three games against the Monterrey Flash. Barring a superhuman effort from the Soles against the Flash, Sonora is going to finish 10-14. Tacoma would then have to win two or three of their final six games to slip by Sonora. The two teams didn’t play each other in the regular season. In theory, if Sonora goes 0-3 and Tacoma goes 2-4 they would both be 10-14 and would both be 9-10 in their conference and the MASL would have to dust off (by that I mean look at for the very first time) and decipher their poorly written tie-breaker rules and try to figure out who would advance. Tacoma should be able to beat Mesquite twice at home and then they’d just have to win one of their other four games (three against San Diego, one against Ontario) to avoid any tie-breakers (assuming Sonora loses all three to Monterrey).
The big action starts on Friday when the Flash visit the Soles. If Sonora wins, throw out everything we just said in the last paragraph. Saturday it is all about the Baltimore Blast and Harrisburg Heat. If the Heat wins, they will just need to win two of their last four games (all at home) to make the playoffs. If the Blast wins by less than four goals, the Heat may need to win all four of their final games. If the Blast wins by four goals AND beats Milwaukee in their final game they will make the playoffs regardless of what the Heat does. Tacoma plays Saturday and Sunday at Ontario and San Diego, so keep an eye on that as well.
Last Week: 1
The Flash finished an 11-game sweep of the Texas teams by beating Mesquite and Dallas one last time.
The Tropics split in Tacoma and need a second wind to hold off Utica to clinch the Eastern Conference. Florida’s offense stalled without Matt Clare, Joey Tavernese, and Gordy Gurson in the lineup in Tacoma. *Minutes before our deadline Gurson revealed that the Florida had released him. Gurson had an injury-plagued season, but the Tropics were 10-1 with him in the lineup, where he scored an impressive 21 points in 11 games.
Utica City Familia de Cristhian grinded out an overtime win and then got blown out of the country, but the 1-1 weekend was a solid result down in Sonora.
Milwaukee rallied from 4-1 down to eventually lose to San Diego in shootouts. The Wave were never really in their next game in Ontario. Ian Bennett was limited to one lonely assist in the two losses.
The Sockers lost Brandon Escoto for the year to a team-imposed suspension, but with their backs against the wall they won the coin flip (shootout) against the Wave.
Baltimore took care of business against Rochester on Blast Hall of Fame night to set up their big meeting with the Heat on Saturday.
Sonora scored a big win against Utica after losing a heartbreaker in overtime that severely damaged their playoff chances.
After maybe taking Turlock lightly (last week we said it was a Hall of Nightmares, but House of Horrors was probably the idiom we were looking for), the Fury reignited and blew out the worn-out Wave.
The Ambush and Comets are in a league of their own. By that we mean they should just keep playing each other. The league’s median teams have had an entertaining rivalry the last two years.
The Stars have knocked off each Conference’s leader now after slipping by Florida. The remaining schedule favors Tacoma over Sonora if the Stars can play consistently-well enough to take it.
Turlock has won three in a row for the first time in three years (really, they did it before).
Beating San Diego was a season high point, followed by losing to Dallas, a season low point.
In a week of teams at the top losing, Dallas went to Monterrey and…lost by nine goals again.
Not only has Turlock won three in a row before, but they have also scored more than the 14 goals Orlando gave up to them in Kissimmee.
Rochester has not won three in a row or scored 14 goals in a game, but there was one time they scored 16 goals over three games in a row. Their 0-20 start matches the 2016-17 El Paso Coyotes for most losses to start a season.