The Lancers host Harrisburg Friday night before welcoming Baltimore Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Lancers)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — After receiving a bye last week, the Rochester Lancers swing back into action with two holiday contests at the Dome Arena this weekend.

They will host the Harrisburg Heat at the Henrietta, N.Y. venue on Friday, Dec. 27 before welcoming the Baltimore Blast on Saturday, Dec. 28. Kickoffs for both matches are 7 p.m.

The Lancers (0-4) and Heat (3-1) are well acquainted with one another as this will be the fourth time they meet this young Major Arena Soccer League season.

Jeremy Ortiz, who became the first Rochester player to tally twice in a game in Rochester’s 8-4 road loss at Harrisburg on Dec. 14, is tied for the team lead in goals along with Anthony Rozzano and Michael Cunningham. Rozzano and Diego Mayanga lead the way with two assists apiece.

Rochester is coming off its best performance of the season in that 8-4 result, playing with much more intensity before the Heat pulled away in the third quarter. Goalkeeper Brian Wilkin had another sharp game in the net.

In the Dec. 14 encounter, Dom Francis, who has eight goals in three games vs. the Lancers, and Ty Hall each tallied twice for the Heat. Francis has scored 10 goals this season and is off to the fastest start of his MASL career.

Francis, who played for the Lancers and head coach Doug Miller in the National Premier Soccer League, felt Rochester has improved greatly.

“Rochester is going to get better,” he said. “They are getting better. For us to play them so many times this early, I think it’s going to be tougher for us as opposed to just playing Milwaukee once. We’ll start to figure each other out and games will get closer eventually. Doug is going to do a very good job there. I know he very well.”

The Heat, which also had last weekend off, is also paced by JJ Gibson (one goal, five assists) and William Eskay (four goals, one assist) and former Brighton High School star goalkeeper William Banahene (2.00 goals-against average) and netminder Jesus Molina (3.60 GAA).

Tickets for the Heat and Blast games can be purchased at

If you can’t make it out to the game, fans can follow all the action on at 7 p.m. They also can get updates of the team’s latest new on Twitter at @RLancers and the team’s Facebook page.

After Saturday’s game, the Lancers will have yet another holiday weekend home as they will meet the Florida Tropics on Friday, Jan. 3 and then the Heat again on Saturday, Jan. 4.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at