Tropics head to San Diego for Sunday’s Game 2 of the MASL championship series
Florida Tropics fans turned out to support the team in its first-ever appearance in the Ron Newman Cup Finals on Monday night at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland.
Intensity revved up in the middle of the fourth quarter when Florida forward Zach Reget hit two goals to put the Tropics up 3-2. However, goals by San Diego forward Kraig Chiles, midfielder Brandon Escoto and defenders Cesar Cerda and Guerrero Pino shut the door, as San Diego took Game 1 of the MASL Championship series.
“Zach scores two great goals to put us up, and then right away, we just made a defensive error, and let them right back in the game,” Florida head coach Clay Roberts said. “Before the game, we thought the set pieces would be the difference in the game, and then they scored the chip on the back post to go up, which obviously forced us to go six-attacker.”
Other than Reget’s two goals, the only other goal scorer for Florida was midfielder Victor Parreiras — second in the league in points — who scored early in the first quarter, converting a restart from the top of the arc. Reget is now the sole leader in MASL postseason points with 15 — 8 eight goals and seven assists.
Forward Tavoy Morgan had two early goals for San Diego. On his first goal, the MASL’s second-leading scorer received a pass on his chest before booting the ball into the goal.
Florida goalkeeper Rainer Hauss made a couple of great saves from the second quarter on, keeping the game within striking distance for Florida. Hauss had nine saves in the game.
In the fourth quarter, Reget produced a goal in the top right corner from 30 yards out, which was off of two rebounding opportunities. Then he capitalized minutes later, thanks to another rebounding opportunity, kicking it on the right side of the net.
But San Diego’s Chiles, who is tied for the lead in goal scoring in the MASL postseason, answered with a goal at 5:24 in the fourth to tie the game at 3. Then, in a domino effect of scores, Escoto had a goal at 6:19, while Cerda and Pinio scored successive goals near the end of the game.
San Diego goalkeeper Boris Pardo, who is fourth in the MASL in saves (225), had eight Monday night.
“We were coming in trying to keep it close. They’ve got a lot of firepower, so we wanted to keep the score down, and just have a chance in the end to be there,” San Diego head coach Phil Salvagio said.
Florida travels to San Diego Sunday for Game 2 of the series. If the Tropics win, a 15-minute mini-game will be played to conclude the 2022 MASL Finals.
San Diego is going for its 16th title, while Florida is trying to win its first.