Tropics win streak reaches three; showdown with Tampa Bay Rowdies U23 is next

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – Ricard Diegues and Juan Tejada each scored in the second half to lift the Lakeland Tropics to their third straight win of the USL Premier Development League season, 2-0 over the Palm Beach Suns.

Tejada's finish from 15 yards out in the 55th minute got Lakeland on top, and a pretty feed from Victor Parreiras to Ricardo Diegues from 30 yards out on a free kick moved the lead to 2-0 in the 71st minute.

Lakeland goalkeeper Jonathan Valerio posted his first shutout of the season, making three saves on seven shots.

Diegues continues to be among the league leaders in goals, as he now has four in four games. It was Tejada's first of the campaign. The Tropics, now 3-1 overall, unleashed 32 shots at Suns netminder Kyle Baskett, who was credited with 16 saves.

The Tropics will look to make it four in a row next Saturday at Bryant Stadium when they host another expansion team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies U23 side in a 7:35 p.m. start. Tickets are available by calling 240-0101, or at the team's website

 Tampa Bay opened its season Saturday night with a 2-1 win at Weston FC. Lakeland went on the road last Wednesday and beat Weston by that same 2-1 count. Tampa Bay will meet IMG Academy Wednesday before making the short trip east on I-4 for next weekend's match.