The season is fast approaching, and the buzz around Utica is immense. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve introduced you to several of the players who will be donning Utica City FC jerseys, but now the question is, “Who are they playing?” Fear not fans. Here is some info on the teams Utica will be playing against.

Harrisburg Heat

When: December 1st, January 25th, March 24th (away): December 16th, January 13th, March 10th (home)

Arena: PA Farm Show Arena

Players To Watch: Elmo Neto, Thiago Freitas, Ricardo Carvalho

Harrisburg is under a new regime, with former Baltimore Blast player Pat Healey taking over as head coach, and father Kevin becoming President of the club. Pat brings years of experience in indoor soccer, along with a few championship rings. Over the years, Syracuse had Harrisburg’s number, only losing three games to the Heat over the last four years. Expect more of the same domination by Utica this season over the Heat.

Baltimore Blast

When: December 8th, February 8th, February 24th (away): December 2nd, December 30th, March 31st (home)

Arena: SECU Arena (located in Towson, Maryland)

Players To Watch: Vini Dantas, William Vanzela, Tony Donatelli

If I were to pick a “rival team” for Utica City, Baltimore would be that team. They are the three-time reigning MASL champions, eliminating Syracuse in two out of those three seasons. The gap between Baltimore and Syracuse had markedly decreased over the last few years, with Syracuse almost defeating the Blast in the playoffs last season. The Blast are a very defensive minded team, with goalkeeper Vanzela leading the way. Expect very close games between these two teams.

Mississauga MetroStars

When: January 11th, February 22nd, March 22nd (away): February 10th, March 17th, March 30th (away)

Arena: Paramount Fine Foods Centre

Players To Watch: Dwayne De Rosario, Marco Rodriguez, Mo Babouli

Oh, Canada! Welcome to the MASL Mississauga. The MetroStars join the Eastern Division, along with the Heat, Blast, and Utica City. Being an expansion team, I don’t know a lot about the players, but it looks like they have players with lots of MLS and futsal experience. The big question around this team will be, “How will they gel together?” Expect De Rosario to notch several amazing goals during the season.

Florida Tropics

When: December 9th (home)

Arena: RP Funding Center (located in Lakeland, Florida)

Players To Watch: Freddy Moojen, Max Touloute, Hugo Silva

Florida makes the move from the Eastern Divison to the South Central Division of the MASL, making the December 9th game their only meeting of the season. Florida recently acquired goalkeeper Silva from the Harrisburg Heat. In order for Florida to succeed this year, Silva will need to maintain his form from his days with Harrisburg. Since this is the only meeting between the two teams, I won’t give my expectations until my official prediction article, which will be written sometime before the season starts!

Milwaukee Wave

When: January 6th (home)

Arena: UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena

Players To Watch: Ian Bennett, Max Ferdinand, Josh Lemos

This team is fun to watch. In the 2017-2018 season, Milwaukee went 17-5, losing to — you guessed it — the Baltimore Blast, in the conference championship game. Milwaukee is led by Bennett, a prolific goal scorer, and a supporting cast that will take the Wave to another division crown this season. Last year, Milwaukee beat Syracuse twice, once at home, and once away. Can they defeat Utica City though? Stay tuned to my predictions article.

St. Louis Ambush

When: January 19th (away)

Arena: The Family Arena

Players To Watch: Hewerton Moreira, Jerjer Gibson, Antonio Manfut

This is an up and coming team in my opinion. St. Louis acquired the speedy midfielder Manfut from Rio Grande Valley, and he will instantly help the offense, which was last in goals scored last season. Coach Moreira will have this team ready for a possible playoff run this season. Last year, Syracuse swept the season series 4-0, with all of the games being very close.

Kansas City Comets

When: January 20th (away)

Arena: Silverstein Eyes Center Arena

Players To Watch: Leo Gibson, John Sosa, Bryan Perez

Coming off of a 7-15 record last season, Kansas City has something to prove this year. They’ve brought back their core group of players, along with some former players, like Ramone and Robert Palmer, John Sosa, and Alain Matingou. When clicking on all cylinders, the Comets could be in the mix come April.

Orlando SeaWolves

When: April 12th (away): January 27th (home)

Arena: Silver Spurs Arena

Players To Watch: Gordy Gurson, Victor France, Osvaldo Rojas

Last year, the SeaWolves were located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Rampage made the 2017-2018 playoffs, losing to the Milwaukee Wave. Led by Gurson, the SeaWolves will once again be in the running for a playoff spot this season. Syracuse and Cedar Rapids met last season, with the Silver Knights winning their only game against each other, 6-4.

There you have it. A look into each team Utica City will be playing this season. Stay tuned for upcoming articles, which will dive deeper into my predictions for the upcoming season. Until then MASL Nation!