Tropics settle for 1-1 tie in U.S. Open Cup rematch against The Villages SC

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla – A goal in stoppage time was the difference Saturday night at Bryant Stadium as the Lakeland Tropics settled for a 1-1 tie with The Villages SC in a rematch of a U.S. Open Cup game earlier this month.

The USL League Two teams traded second half goals. Kaz Kimura scored his second of the season, heading in a perfect cross from Banabas Ganidekam with about 20 minutes to play. However, the Buffalo got the equalizer early in second half stoppage time, also on a nice cross as Saulo Da Silva slotted home the feed from Leonardo Paiva.

Both goaltenders came up big, with Lakeland's Joel Serrano stoning Paiva, the Buffalo's leading scorer last season, on several excellent chances. His counterpart, Jerfesson Santana, was also large, including stopping a penalty kick taken by Adrian Gutierrez in the first half.

The Tropics record is 1-0-2 after three games of the 14 game USL League Two regular season, while The Villages fell to 1-1-1.  The two tangled May 7 in Auburndale in the first round of the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, with the Buffalo taking the win in the 10th round of penalty kicks.

The Tropics will be back at Bryant Stadium on Saturday, June 1, when they host FC Miami City. The game will be streamed live at For more information, visit