Rojas makes final game with Tropics one to rememember as Lakeland tips SIMA, 3-2

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – The Lakeland Tropics threw a going-away party Saturday night, and the man they were celebrating made sure it was one no one would forget.

Victor Rojas, who was the second leading goal scorer for the Florida Tropics of the Major Arena Soccer League Season, scored twice to lead Lakeland to a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten SIMA Aguilas to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Rojas leaves the outdoor Tropics with six goals on the season, second best on the team behind Ricardo Diegues, who scored in the first half to lift his team-leading total to 11 this year.

SIMA came in as the only unbeaten team in the Premier Development League's Southeast Division, and is now 8-1-1 on the year (25 points). Lakeland improves to 7-2-1( 22 points). Both trail division leading FC Miami City (9-1-0, 27 points). SIMA and Lakeland will rematch in Montverde on July 11.

The physical game saw three red cards issued, two to SIMA. Lakeland's card went to goaltender Jonathan Valerio midway through the first half. Backup Jorge Navarette came in, having only played about 10 minutes all season, and was very solid in making seven saves.

Bruno Lapa (first half) and Biska Biyombo (second half) were the SIMA goal scorers.

Lakeland is on the road next Wednesday, July 5 at the Palm Beach Suns before returning to Bryant Stadium Sunday, July 9, for a 5:35 start against IMG Academy.