Tropics tie team mark for goals in 4-0 triumph over Next Academy Palm Beach

by Brian Ackley

BOYNTON BEACH – The Lakeland Tropics stretched their unbeaten streak to four, and took sole possession of first-place in the USL Premier Development League's southeast division Wednesday night with a 4-0 road win against Next Academy Palm Beach.

The game was not in doubt from early on, with Lakeland getting three goals in the first 30 minutes, including a pair by Juan Tejada who now leads the team in goals with eight this year.

The Tropics improved to 8-1-2 (26 points) with three games remaining in the regular season, ahead of the SIMA Aguilas (7-2-2, 23 points) and The Villages SC (6-2-3, 21 points) who Lakeland will meet on the road Saturday at 6 p.m. Only the top two teams in the division advance to the post-season.

Ben Mendoza picked up his second of the season just minutes after the start, converting a free-kick from about 23 yards out. Tejada's goals both came on crosses, one from a corner kick and the second on a ball into the box that he headed home. He will be a senior at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg this fall.

University of Virgina's Raheem Taylor-Parkes picked up his first of the year in the second half after coming close a couple of times last Saturday against SIMA to close out the scoring. The four goals tied a team record for most scores in a game, done twice last year. 

Goalkeeper Gustavo Vasconcelos picked up his fifth shutout of the year, and his second straight clean sheet following last Saturday's huge 1-0 home win against the Aguilas.

The game Saturday at The Villages SC game is the second of a three-game road trip, which also includes a July 10 game at IMG Academy Bradenton. The Tropics will finish their regular season at home on Saturday, July 14 against Weston FC in a 7 p.m. start at Bryant Stadium.