M2 Opening Weekend and Heartland Invitational Recap
TAMPA, Fla – With the start of the 2021 Major Arena Soccer League 2 season behind them, league officials are thrilled with how this past weekend’s “Heartland Invitational” played out in Wichita.
The four-team event included the host Wings, Amarillo Bombers, Colorado Inferno FC and Omaha Kings FC, who had planned to play at the Major Arena Soccer League 3 level this year, but have been granted provisional status to move up to M2 this season.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start. Games were exciting, competitive, everything we could have hoped for. It lays a tremendous foundation on which to move forward with a number of announcements and developments that literally span across the country to reinvigorate the sport in general, and M2 in particular,” Commissioner Chris Economides said.
A total of six-games in three days was not an easy task to pull off, Deputy Commissioner Andrew Ross noted, but much behind the scenes work at the league and level made it happen.
“It really speaks to the commitment level of our owners and players, to make sure that fans still have teams and a league to root for, to get behind and get passionate about, because it was the passion of everyone involved this weekend, fans included, that made it such a special start to the season,” Ross said. “You couldn't even begin to count up the number of hours and phone calls and emails that have been needed in the last few months to pull it all together. It was a shining example of the teamwork off the field that fans don’t see that sets the table for a great 2021 season despite the challenges the ongoing pandemic environment that our teams will continue to contend with.”
Five of the six games were decided by three goals or less – half of them were one or two goal games decided well into the final quarter – with the Wings winning all three of their games, keeping the first ever Heartland Invitational trophy in Wichita.
Colorado, after suffering the most lopsided loss of the weekend on Friday night to Wichita, roared back with two strong wins, and the upstart Kings won once, and lost their other two games by a total of four goals. Even Amarillo was in all its games, taking three losses by a total of just seven goals.
“Honestly, I think we were all pleasantly surprised at how competitive and entertaining almost every game was,” Economides added. “Omaha might actually be the story of the weekend. Fans there should be very excited about the Kings, to defeat Amarillo, and then take the Wings literally to the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. The jump from planning to play in M3, and then getting the provisional OK up to M2 is pretty significant, but they absolutely proved they belonged.”
Several team announcements are expected in the coming weeks – one revealing the return of a long time indoor soccer franchise later this week – along with information about M2’s February schedule and invitational play. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the league is releasing scheduling information on a month-by-month basis, but the regular season is expected to run into early summer. Games at the Heartland event will count towards the regular season standings.
Information on all league matters will continue to be found online at m2soccer.com, and on all the league’s social media platforms.