Wichita Wings win bid to host 2024 MASL 2 playoffs; four-division alignment set for upcoming season
Major Arena Soccer League 2 will bring its “Championship Weekend” to Hartman Arena after owners selected the Wichita Wings as host of the playoffs for the seventh season of play in the league.
In addition, the league has set its divisional alignment for the season which starts in late fall. A record 19 teams – four more than any of the previous MASL 2 seasons, with all 15 teams from last year returning to join the Baltimore Arsenal, Atletico Orlando, St. Louis Ambush 2 and Utica N.Y. based United Elite Krajisnik – will be placed in four divisions.
EAST – United Elite Krajisnik, Rochester Lancers, Baltimore Arsenal, Atletico Orlando
NORTH – St. Louis Ambush 2, Muskegon Risers, Iowa Raptors, Iowa Demon Hawks,
MIDWEST – Wichita Wings, New Mexico Runners, Kansas Bandits, Colorado Inferno, Amarillo Bombers
WEST – Turlock Cal Express, San Diego Sockers 2, Rio Grand Valley Barracudas, Empire Jets, and Club Deportivo de Baja California, Chihuahua Savage II
“With just 12 regular season games, all within each of the team’s respective divisions, the existing rivalries will be intense and new ones will grow quickly,” MASL 2 Commissioner Chris Economides said. “Even games early in the season will have tremendous playoff and tiebreaker implications.”
A total of eight teams will qualify for the post-season at the 5,000 seat Hartman Arena in Park City, a suburb of Wichita. The Wings – who regularly lead MASL 2 in attendance -- also hosted the 2021 playoffs when they advanced to the title game before falling to the Cleveland Crunch, 11-6.
The Wings are one of the sport’s most iconic franchises, having joined the original Major Indoor Soccer League for the 1979-80 season. Despite continued decades of success on the field and off, however, the Wings will be looking for their first ever pro indoor soccer championship next spring.
“The overall league growth has provided an opportunity for more teams to advance, which in turn created an opportunity to implement more of a festival type of atmosphere with a total of 10 games over the course of four days,” Wings Managing Partner Blake Shumaker said.. “It’s humbling that team owners chose the Wichita Wings to host such an important event. With our amazing Hartman Arena and team staff, coupled with the support of Park City, we are more than confident it will be one for the books.”
Three teams submitted competitive bids to host the postseason, including the defending champion Chihuahua Savage II and the St. Louis Ambush 2. In a secret vote of owners following a more than two-hour long video conference where all three teams made their presentations, Wichita was selected.
“It’s a great representation of just how strong the league has become and how good our ownership groups are that we had multiple franchises submit such impressive and competitive bids to host our playoffs," Economides added. “All three provided teams with financial assistance and many other amenities which made them all attractive choices. But in the end, the owners selected Wichita and we can’t wait to return to a city that has so enthusiastically embraced pro indoor soccer for decades.”
Owners agreed that the city with the winning bid would also receive an automatic berth to the playoffs. The Wings have made the postseason every season since their debut in MASL 2 in 2019. The top two teams in the East, North and West Division will qualify. The Wings, along with the highest finishing team in the Midwest, also will advance.
Tiebreakers to be used to determine final divisional standings are, in order: total points, regulation wins, wins, head to group, goal differential, goals for and goals against. During the regular season, teams get three points for a win, two points for an overtime win, one point for an overtime loss and no points for a regulation time loss.
The Chihuahua Savage II won the 2023 title over the Amarillo Bombers in games played at Mesquite Arena in Texas, home of the Texas Outlaws (MASL). Two seasons ago, the playoffs were hosted by the Muskegon Risers.