Tejada nets team-leading fifth goal to lift Tropics into 1-1 final vs. The Villages SC

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla. – The little man came up big again for the Lakeland Tropics.

Juan Tejada, the 5-7 midfielder from Eckerd College, scored on a re-direct from the middle of the box in the 65th minute to life the Tropics to a 1-1 draw against The Villages SC Saturday night at Bryant Stadium.

The Tropics, who came into the game in first place in the USL PDL's southeast division, improved to 5-1-2 on the season (17 points), while the Buffalo improved to 3-1-2 (11 points.

Lakeland mostly had the better of play in the first 35 minutes, and missed just by inches on a couple of very nice stops by Buffalo goalkeep Paulo Filho before the visitors broke on top.

The first came on a Caue Carvalho header to the near post on a corner kick, and the second on a 24-yard direct kick by Gustavo Rodrigues  that Filho punched away just before it found a home in the top left corner of the net.

The Buffalo broke on top in the 37th minute when Augusto Maciel banked a shot from just outside the top left of the box off the far goal post and in.

After Tejada's fifth goal of the season – he leads Lakeland in goals scored this season – the Tropics took play back from The Villages, but could not get the game winner.

In the first of a soccer doubleheader Saturday, The Florida Lady Tropics picked up their first win of the season Saturday afternoon, in defeating the Puerto Rico Pride, 3-1. The Lady Tropics improved to 1-1-1 on the season, while the Pride fell to 0-3 in the Women's Premier Soccer League's Sunshine Division, part of league's south region.

Florida got first half scores from Lindsay Hamner and Savannah Jackson to take a 2-0 lead to the half. Tina Trujic extended the lead to 3-0. Goalkeep Julia Ortiz lost her bid for a clean sheet late in the second half.

The Lady Tropics are right back at it on the pitch tomorrow in St. Petersburg when they take on the 0-2 Florida Krush at the Walter Fuller Sports Complex. Kickoff is at 10 a.m.