MASL Opening Weekend

by Jeff Husted

The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) opening weekend promises to be an exciting one with five matches over the next two days. The weeks of training, preparation and hard work all lead up to this weekend for the ten teams who begin their season. This year for the MASL is shaping up to be one of the most exciting yet. Fans can watch every game on, with selected games also being available on ESPN3.

El Paso Coyotes vs Dallas Sidekicks Oct. 29 8:05 p.m. ET
Saturday night kicks off with a pair of divisional matches, including the Southwest Division’s El Paso Coyotes visiting the Dallas Sidekicks at 8:05 p.m. ET. The Coyotes are new to the MASL this season, but head coach Hector “El Profe” Eugui has built a team that he feels can make an impact in their inaugural season. On the other side, the Dallas Sidekicks are led by second-year head coach Simon Bozas. After a disappointing 7-13 record last season, Bozas is looking to goalkeeper Juan Gamboa and defenders Cody Ellis, Mike Jones, Clint Ritter to right the ship and return the team to the postseason.

Cedar Rapids Rampage vs Kansas City Comets Oct 29 8:05 p.m. ET
Kicking off at the same time in Independence, MO is a budding Central Division rivalry between the Cedar Rapids Rampage and the Kansas City Comets. The Comets hold a 3-0 record against the Rampage, having outscored them last season by a combined 29-15. Cedar Rapids hopes to change their fortunes in a hurry though. First, the team elevated star Hewerton Moreira to Head Coach/player. The savvy veteran then went out and signed proven arena soccer players Jonathan Greenfield, Jonatan Santos, Pablo da Silva, and Tony Walls. The Comets are in the midst of a transition as well. Goran Karadzov takes over head coaching duties after being Vlatko Andonovski’s assistant for the past two seasons. With veterans Vahid Assadpour and Leo Gibson returning, Karadzov still has high expectations for his squad.

Soles de Sonora vs Tacoma Stars Oct 29 9:05 p.m. ET
In Washington, last season’s Coach of the Year, Darren Sawatzky  and the Tacoma Stars start their season against the reigning league MVP, Franck Tayou and the MASL Runners-up Soles de Sonora. The Stars game begins with the play of their star goalkeeper, Danny Waltman. However, Waltman doesn’t stand alone as he’s surrounded by talented players like Dan Antoniuk, Michael Ramos and the addition of defender Evan McNeley. For Sonora, they are eager to get their season started and make another run at the championship that eluded them last season.

Turlock Express vs San Diego Sockers Oct 29 10:05 p.m. ET
The San Diego Sockers host the final game of Opening Night against the Turlock Express. Turlock struggled last season, finishing last in the Southwest Division. They return leading scorers Arturo Pulido and Adrian Gutierrez. The pair will have their hands full as the Sockers have taken their already formidable roster, including captain Kraig Chiles and goalkeeper Chris Toth, and added Max Touloute, Cesar Cerda and Brandon Escoto. Each of those players notched 15+ goals last season.

Baja Atletico vs Ontario Fury Oct 30 6:05 p.m. ET
The weekend closes out with a match between Baja Atletico and the Ontario Fury. Baja finished second in the Southwest Division last season before losing out in the first round of the playoffs. Ontario narrowly missed out on a playoff spot in the Pacific Division.  Both teams feel a sense of unfinished business and look to take the next step towards a deep post-season run.