The San Diego Sockers—presented by Kaiser Permanente San Diego—lock boots with the Florida Tropics in the opening leg of the best-of-three 2022 Ron Newman Cup Finals, from RP Funding Center in Lakeland, Florida. Match One is set for a 7:00pm EDT kickoff (4:00pm Pacific), carried live on Twitch (channel @masl_soccer) and on Sirius XM Radio (channels 138/201) nationwide. Match Two (and the Knockout Game if necessary) will be played on Sunday, May 8 at Pechanga Arena San Diego.

The Ron Newman Cup playoffs feature the top eight teams in the Major Arena Soccer League. Division winners earned the top three seeds, with the five next-best point totals qualifying as wild cards. The opening round saw San Diego, Florida, Kansas City, and Chihuahua all advance, the top four seeds in the bracket, while the semifinals saw the top two seeds San Diego and Florida use the maximum three games to advance. The lower-seeded club hosts the first match, and the higher-seeded club the second. If the series is tied 1-1 after two matches, a fifteen-minute Knockout Game follows to determine the winner. The semifinal winners will meet in the Ron Newman Cup Finals.

The Sockers (23-0-1, 66 points) were the top club in the MASL through the 2021-22 regular season, winning the MASL Shield as the regular season champions. San Diego is the #1 seed in the Ron Newman Cup playoffs, with home-field advantage throughout. The Sockers took a 20-match winning streak into the playoffs and swept their quarterfinal against Milwaukee before dropping a 7-6 OT decision in Chihuahua. San Diego has not lost in regulation this season. The club’s only other loss was an 8-7 OT setback to the Ontario Fury on January 9. The Sockers have not lost a match in regulation since a 6-4 loss to the Fury in Ontario on March 13, 2021, a stretch of 39 matches.

The Ron Newman Cup semifinals provided high drama on both sides of the playoff bracket. The Sockers and Chihuahua Savage played an epic three-match set, with Chihuahua scoring an overtime golden goal from Edgar “Torrez” Gonzalez on April 18 in Mexico to end the Sockers’ three-month run of victory, posting a 7-6 win. The return leg on April 24 in San Diego was a tense affair, with the Sockers building a 2-0 halftime lead only to see the Savage knot the score at 2-2 midway through the third quarter. Felipe Gonzalez’s flying header goal late in the quarter gave San Diego the lead back for good, and the Sockers added three goals in the fourth quarter for a 6-2 win. In the deciding 15-minute Knockout Game, Christian Gutierrez had a goal and two assists and Juan Manuel Rojo scored twice into a late empty net, as the Sockers eliminated Chihuahua with a 4-1 decision.

In the East, the Tropics also needed the full three games to get past Kansas City, dropping an 8-7 decision to the Comets in Missouri before coming home on April 23 to net consecutive 4-2 wins in Match Two and the Knockout Game.

The Sockers and Tropics only met once in the regular season, where San Diego took advantage of a weary Florida club at the end of a four-match road trip, bullying their way to an 11-4 win on March 31. The win clinched the MASL Shield for San Diego. Tavoy Morgan tied a career-high with five goals and added two assists for a seven-point game.

Florida (18-3-2, 56 points) finished the regular season as the #2 seed in the MASL. The Tropics scored the third-most goals in the league with 179, trailing only Chihuahua (185) and San Diego (182). Florida was equally good home and away, going 9-2 at the RP Funding Center and 9-1-2 on the road. MASL Elite IX midfielder Victor Parreiras led the Tropics in the regular season with (29-23=52) points, and has added (4-4=8) points in the playoffs. Zach Reget leads Florida in playoff scoring with (6-7=13) points after finishing second on the club in the regular season with (27-16=43) points. Ricardo Diegues was acquired from Utica at midseason and immediately became a key figure in the Tropics attack, netting 12 goals in 11 regular-season games, and (5-5=10) points in the playoffs. The Tropics have split the net in the playoffs between Rainer Hauss (3-0, 3.56 GAA, .826 SV%) and Jorge Navarette (1-1, 6.10 GAA, .707 SV%).