Tropics hope to keep playoff hopes alive in regular season finale vs. Weston FC

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND –  The Lakeland Tropics will close out their second regular season in the USL Premier Development League Saturday night at Bryant Stadium when they host Weston FC.

The Tropics (8-2-3, 27 points) are hoping to earn a post season berth, but will need help to do so. They are in a three-way battle with the Soccer Institute of Montverde Academy Aguilas and The Villages SC for the top spots in the PDL southeast division. Only the top two teams earn playoff spots.

If The Villages (8-2-3, 27 points) and SIMA (9-2-2, 29 points) both win, the Tropics will be eliminated from contention. A loss by either, however, and a Tropics win would give Lakeland one of the top two spots.

Lakeland comes in winless in their last two starts. A win in either would have also secured a playoff spot, but the Tropics fell on the road last Saturday to The Villages SC, 2-0, and could only manage a 1-1 tie earlier this week against IMG Academy Bradenton.

Juan Tejada leads the Tropics in goal scoring with eight. Victor Parreiras, who is just recently back in the lineup after kneee surgery last March, got the equalizer against IMG in the second half, and also had the game winning goal against SIMA on June 30.

Weston comes in with a record of 4-8-1. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Bryant Stadium.