Tropics trip up first-place Tritons as Vacas nets pair in Lakeland triumph

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND, Fla – The Lakeland Tropics scored their biggest win of the 2019 season Saturday night as they tripped up the USL League Two Southern Division leading Treasure Coast Tritons, 3-2, at historic Bryant Stadium.

The entertaining matchup was delayed over 90 minutes by heavy rain and lightning, but the final score line was worth the wait, as the Tropics improved to 2-2-2 on the season, and just two points out from the top of the table. 

The two teams traded first half goals, with Johannes Bergmann putting the visitors on top in th e 21st minute when he converted a corner kick. But Lakeland forward Rafael Vacas found himself in close in the 35th minute and did not miss to tie the score.

Treasure Coast retook the lead in the 51st minute when Michael Desheilds found the mark, but the Tropics exploded for two goals in a five minute span shortly thereafter.

Captain Luca Weichers tied the game in the 60th minute on his header off a corner kick, and Vacas picked up his second of the night, and game winner, when he curled a free kick from just outside the box inside the far post in the 65th minute.

“I'm very, very happy for the boys,” Coach Eoghan Conlon said. “All the things we've been working through, we were better tonight. Now we just have to keep it going.”

The Tritons fell to 3-2-1, and with 10 points, are in a four-way tie for first in the division. Seven of the eight teams in the division are within two points of each other in the standings.

Lakeland will look to move their win streak to two games next Saturday at Bryant Stadium when they host Weston FC in a 7 p.m. Kickoff.