The Ron Newman Cup kicked off the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) postseason with four division titles on the line. Here is how they fared:
Eastern Division: Baltimore defeated Syracuse 2 games to 0.
The two-time defending champs didn’t exactly breeze through their divisional series with Syracuse. The Blast edged the Silver Knights 7-6 and 5-4 to sweep the series. Baltimore took a commanding 5-1 lead into the final quarter of the opener of the series and held off the Silver Knights as they were outscored 5-2 in the final quarter. Baltimore built yet another lead in game two with a 4-1 lead in the third but Syracuse stormed back to make it 4-3 early in the fourth. Baltimore’s Daniel Peruzzi scored with less than four minutes left to give the Blast an insurance goal which stood up in the end after another Syracuse goal with seconds left.
Central Division: Milwaukee defeated Cedar Rapids 2 games to 0.
Max Ferdinand scored the game winning and series winning goal with 10:24 left in the fourth quarter then the Milwaukee Wave held on 9-8 to advance to the semifinals. Ian Bennett scored Milwaukee’s game winner 44 seconds into overtime for an 8-7 win.
Southwest Division: Monterrey defeated Sonora 2 games to 0.
Brayan Aguilar had a hat-trick for the Monterrey Flash in game two to clinch the series 9-5 after winning the series opener 8-7. The teams were tied 5-5 in the third quarter of game one when until Carlos Farias scored back-to-back goals to take a 7-5 lead. Monterrey held onto the lead to take the opener on Sonora’s home turf. Franck Tayou had a hat trick for Sonora.
Pacific Division: San Diego defeated Tacoma 2 games to 1.
The San Diego-Tacoma series was the only division final that went to a tie-breaker game. Tacoma opened the series with a 5-2 win at Tacoma. The Sockers rallied to win game two at home by routing the Stars 9-3 to force a mini-game. The Sockers stormed out to a 5-0 lead in the first five minutes to cruise to the series-clinching win. Five different players scored for San Diego.
The division winners will now advance to play in a one-game semifinal match. The Baltimore Blast will play the Milwaukee Wave in one semifinal game and the Monterrey Flash will face the San Diego Sockers in the other semifinal. The Blast edged the Wave in last year’s semifinal game while the Sockers lost to Sonora