Welcome back Victor! Parreiras nets game-winner as Tropics topple SIMA, 1-0

by Brian Ackley

LAKELAND – Welcome back Victor Parreiras.

The Tropics leading assist man from a year ago – and one of the top scorers each of the last two years with the Major Arena Soccer League Florida Tropics – banged in a rebound midway through the second half Saturday night to give the Lakeland Tropics a huge 1-0 win over the visiting SIMA Aguilas at Bryant Stadium.

The win moved Lakeland into a first-place tie in the USL Premier Development League's southeast division as the Tropics and SIMA now each have 23 points. However, SIMA has played one more game and is a 7-2-2. The Tropics improved to 7-1-2 with the victory which avenged a 2-0 loss several weeks ago on the Aguilas home pitch.

Parreras set up his long-time linemate Ricardo Diegues in front of the SIMA goal. The Aguilas goaltender made the initial stop, but Parreiras was there to bang in the rebound for the only score of the night in the 68th minute.

This is the first game back in the outdoor season for Parreiras, who had knee surgery in March after injuring the leg early in the indoor season. He came on as a substitute in the 55th minute and scored 13 minutes later.

It was scoreless at intermission, although the Tropics had more bonafide scoring opportunities  in the first 30 minutes than they did the entire game earlier this month at Montverde. Both Juan Tejada and Raheem Taylor-Parks were denied on excellent chances by Aguilas goalkeep Richie Steinmann in the first half.

Gustavo Vasconcelos, who got the clean sheet for Lakeland, had his best moment in the 36th minute when he went low to stop a close in shot from SIMA's Elija Ago. The Aguilas outshot Lakeland in the first 45 minutes 9-5.

Lakeland will play on the road Wednesday, July 4, when they take on Next Academy Palm Beach in a 6 p.m. start before hitting the road again July 7 in another tough matchup, this one against The Villages SC who sit in third place in the division with a 6-2-2 mark. For more information, go to www.tropicssoccer.com.