Catching up with a quick season-end summary for the Texas-Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) indoor campaign that ended when the Baltimore Blast defeated the Monterrey Flash 4-3 in the MASL Championship game (Ron Newman Cup) at Arena Monterrey on March 25, 2018:
El Paso Coyotes
- El Paso Coyotes dramatically improved in their second year. After finishing the 2016/17 season without a win, they ended the 2017/18 season at 11-11 with a negative-23 goal differential.
- The Coyotes finished in third place in the four team Southwest Division, winning 7 games at home and did not make the playoffs.
- Midfielder Christian Gutierrez, who joined the team in the off-season from Baja Atletico, led the team in goals (36) and 48 total points (total goals and assists).
- Gutierrez was named Third-team All-MASL.
- Midfielder Hugo Puentes was named All-Rookie Honorable Mention.
- Season Highlight: The first ever franchise victory over RGV Barracudas on opening night. The Coyotes went on to win all three matches played against RGV.
- Season Lowlight: A five-match losing streak to the two teams that finished above them in the division, Sonora and Monterrey, between December 14 and January 12.
Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Barracudas
- Hidalgo-based RGV Barracudas suffered similar first-year difficulties as the Coyotes did last year, finishing 3-19 with a negative-93 goal differential.
- The Barracudas finished in last place in the Southwest and did not make the playoffs.
- Midfielder Antonio Manfut and midfielder/forward Fernando Moreno led the team with 20 goals apiece. Midfielder Moises Gonzalez topped in total points with 33.
- Midfielder Salvador Luna was named All-Rookie Honorable Mention.
- Season Highlights: Won their first game of the season against division rivals Sonora Soles in mid-December and a few days later won their only road game of the season against Turlock Express.
- Season Lowlights: The Barracudas began their season with a six game losing streak and ended with seven consecutive losses.
The legendary Dallas Sidekicks, winners of multiple indoor crowns in previous indoor leagues, announced last September that they would suspend operations for the 2017/18 season to reorganize. At that time it was announced that the Sidekicks were working with the league and the Allen Event Center on a planned return for the 2018/19 season. There have been no further announcements from the league or the Sidekicks to confirm if they will actually return next year.
Other MASL Notes:
- The league MVP and Coach of the Year came from the same division as the Coyotes and Barracudas. Former San Antonio FC forward Franck Tayou won his third consecutive MVP award. His 71 goals scored in the regular season smashed the previous all-time MASL record of 56 (that he set last year) and accounted for nearly a third of Sonora’s goals throughout the season. First-year Monterrey Flash coach Mariano Bollella, who led the team to a 20-2 record with a +69 goal differential, was named Coach of the Year. The Flash won 17 games before their first loss and made a deep playoff run before losing in the championship game.
- The 2018/2019 MASL season will begin on the weekend of December 1st, roughly a month later than the just concluded season. Each team will play a 24-match season which will run into mid-April of 2019. There will be two-additional matches added to next seasons calendar from the 22 played this past season. According to the MASL, “This format will also better align with broadcast calendars for any future potential partnerships. The MASL continues negotiations with multiple networks seeking arena soccer to be featured content.”
- As a sign of the increasing stability of the MASL, the league announced in late March that a new expansion team in Orlando will join the league for next season. This addition will join the previously announced first Canadian MASL team in Toronto as new entrants for 2018/19.