Lakeland Tropics make winning start in season opener

Filed under: Florida News,Lakeland Tropics,Orlando Sport,Sport |

Lakeland Tropics 1 Next Academy Palm Beach 0, Bryant Stadium, Lakeland, Florida - 12th May 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The Lakeland Tropics made a winning start to their 2018 season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Next Academy Palm Beach at Bryant Stadium, Lakeland Saturday night.

Captain and leading goal scorer Ricardo Diegues electrified an opening-night crowd with his tap in goal in the 49th minute. Diegues led the team in scoring last season with 10, and was also the leading scorer for Lakeland’s sister franchise, the Florida Tropics of the Major Arena Soccer League, who finished their second season in March.

Lakeland Tropics v Next Academy Palm Beach, Bryant Stadium, Lakeland, Florida - 12th May 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Newcomer Gustavo Vanconselos (pictured below) picked up his first win and clean sheet in the USL Premier Development League’s Southeastern Division triumph.

Lakeland Tropics 1 Next Academy Palm Beach 0, Bryant Stadium, Lakeland, Florida - 12th May 2018 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

It was actually the second game in four nights for Lakeland, who traveled to Texas earlier in the week for their first-ever appearance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup which resulted in a 3-0 loss to the host Midland-Odessa Sockers.

It was the first time the Tropics won their season opener, after falling on the road to FC Miami City, 4-1, in 2017. It was also the third straight win over Palm Beach, which played as the Suns last year. Lakeland took wins of 2-0 and 2-1. The two teams will rematch in Palm Beach on Independence Day, July 4.

The Tropics 14-game regular season schedule features home and away matches with all seven of their Southeastern Division foes. Lakeland is on the road next Saturday for a meeting with FC Miami City, who also played in the Open Cup earlier in the week, losing 3-1. Lakeland’s next home match will be their only Sunday home game, May 27, when they entertain North County United in a 7:05 Memorial Day weekend kickoff. All five remaining Tropics home games are on Saturday night.

For more information, go to www.lakelandtropics.com, or call 863-240-0101 for information and tickets.

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