The Turlock Cal Express are the talk of the MASL after an overtime win over the Kansas City Comets at home and a most shocking upset of the San Diego Sockers at Pechanga Arena.
Turlock GM Matt Warner told us before the season that if all the visas go through, the Express could be a playoff team. He might have been more prescient than even he knew, because Turlock’s early success has come despite the absence of seven players still on visa row.
Now before anyone goes crazy, remember that the Dallas Sidekicks beat the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas on opening week last year. This could be more like the St. Louis Ambush’s opening win at Orlando. St. Louis did win four more games than we projected, but it’s too early to say Turlock is a playoff caliber team or that the Sockers are in trouble.
Coming up this weekend, the Ambush and Comets will try to find their level on Saturday, the Mesquite Outlaws will play their first game, and later that night the Sockers will try to take out their frustrations on the Tacoma Stars on the road.
The defending champions are already behind the 8-ball with a devastating injury to goalkeeper Josh Lemos who was 18-0 last year in the regular season and playoffs, but the Wave are a deep and talented bunch.
The Flash are off to an impressive start with two wins against Sonora and 22 goals scored. Edgar Gonzalez is already a quarter of the way to his career high of 36 points set in his Rookie of the Year season in 2017-18.
Did anyone catch the name of that train that flattened the Sockers on their home turf? Even with truly awful finishing San Diego still managed seven goals, but the defense is going to have to be a whole lot better for them to realize their title aspirations.
With key players out for both teams, City FireCrackers and the Blast battled to a virtual standstill. Utica upped the ante by signing former Baltimore defender Onua Obasi. Apparently we were all spelling Cristhian Segura’s first name wrong, too.
The Blast still look like a team who is going to have a lot to say about who goes to bed with the Ron Newman Cup at the end of the night. Baltimore’s only weakness might be depth, but they have also had a tradition of “next man up” when the team has lost players to free agency or injury.
Not the prettiest win to start the season, but thanks to Matt Clare’s late heroics, the Tropics snuck out of Kissimmee with a 3-2 win to open the season.
With only three new players, the 3-21 Express became the 2-0 Cal Express (now with extra Cal in every bite!) with a massive upset of the Sockers in San Diego. Turlock is fitter under Coach Chebo Martinez, and a change in ownership has afforded the players the ability to train five times a week instead of twice a week. Adrian Gutierrez in particular has lost 25 pounds and is turning heads in his ninth season. Practice makes perfect.
If betting on arena soccer was a thing, everyone would have taken the “over” and the house would have been able to retire after Friday’s low scoring 3-2 affair. Coach Chris Kokalis emphasized defense and with half the SeaWolves offense in visa purgatory, so it’s going to be a real necessity.
Sonora proved they can still be a formidable adversary at home in a see-saw 10-8 loss to the Flash, but were routed in their return trip to Monterrey, 12-4.
The Comets were unimpressive in their road loss at the Express, but the sting and humiliation was quickly tempered by Turlock’s road win in San Diego.