Playoff push in final week starts with road trip to IMG Academy Bradenton

by Brian Ackley

BRADENTON – With the final week of the regular season upon us, the Lakeland Tropics still control their own playoff destiny despite last Saturday's setback against the Villages SC.

The Tropics and SIMA Aguilas are tied atop the southeast division of the USL Premier Development League with identical 8-2-2 records (26 points) while The Villages SC is third (7-2-3, 24 points). Each team has two games remaining, and only the top two teams in the division advance to the post-season.

The Tropics will earn one of the two spots if they can defeat IMG Academy Bradenton tonight in a 5 p.m. start, and also win Saturday in the home finale against Weston FC.

SIMA, likewise, can assure itself of a playoff spot with two wins.

Lakeland fell to the Villages SC, 2-0 Saturday, while IMG comes in with a mark if 6-5-0, and unbeaten in their last four starts, a streak that started with a 1-0 win over The Villages SC.

The Tropics are led by Juan Tejada who has eight goals on the season.

Saturday's kickoff on SYKES Field at Bryant Stadium is at 7 p.m. Free tickets courtesy of Bond Clinic, Truly Nolen Pest Control, Dukes Brewhouse and Il Forno Italian Restaurant can be claimed at