Tropics keep roll going with 3-1 road triumph at The Villages SC

by Brian Ackley

THE VILLAGES -- Ricardo Diegues scored once, and added two assists, as the Lakeland Tropics rolled to their sixth straight win Saturday night, a 3-1 decision on the road against The Villages SC, the Premier Development League's defending southeast division champs.

Diegues teamed with Juan Tejada on a pretty give and go in the box in the eighth minute for Tejada's fourth of the season. Diegues then set up Victor Rojas in the 60th minute who finished off a volley from about 10-yards out for what proved to be the game winner.

Diegues then got his eighth of the season, tops on the team and depending on results this weekend around the PDL, tied for tops in the league in goals, when Victor Parrerias made a perfect cross to the team captain who made no mistake from about five yards out with a header placed just under the crossbar. That pretty play closed the scoring in the 64th minute.

The Buffalo did not go quietly, with Tropics netminder Jonathan Valerio making several big stops in the final 25 minutes, and The Villages SC found the cross bar in the 81st minute, but never did get  any closer.

Lakeland is tied for first int he division with a 6-1 mark with FC Miami City, the lone team to beat the Tropics. That came on the road in the season opener on May 11. Lakeland has not lost since. 

Those two teams will have a huge showdown next Saturday night at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland with kickoff set for 7:35 p.m. Before that, the Tropics will be at the South Florida Surf on Wednesday. Tickets for the Miami game are on sale at, or by calling the team office at 240-0101. The first 1,000 fans will receive free Tropics rally towels courtesy of Everything About Smiles Orthodontics.