Different date, same result as Aztecs score late to forge 1-1 tie against UPSL Tropics

by Brian Ackley

AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Florida Tropics remain in first place of the United Premier Soccer Leagues Florida West Premier division, but the hold on that spot is a bit more tenuous after Saturday’s 1-1 tie against the St. Petersburg Aztecs.

Florida could have assured itself a regular-season title by winning that game, and this coming Saturday’s home contest against the PSE Conquistadores (Lakewood Ranch), but now must await the outcome of other games to determine where they will be seeded going into the UPSL playoffs.

The Tropics stand at 7-2-2, good for 23 points. The Conquistadores are 6-2-2, and could not catch the Tropics with a Florida win this Saturday.

However, St. Petersburg stands at 6-1-2 (19 points) and still has three games remaining, including a make up date against PSE. The Aztecs will also play Tampa FC twice in this coming week, the worst team in the division with a mark of just 1-7-2. 

That means the Aztecs would win the regular season with three wins. However, with just two wins, and a Florida win Saturday, the two teams would finish with 26 points each. The two teams tied their two games against each other this year, but the Tropics hold a significant edge in goal differential, which would still give Florida a title under this scenario.

This past weekend, rising NAIA soccer star Nico Riveros scored with about 15 minutes to go to give Florida a 1-0 lead. But, similar to the first meeting between the two, the Tropics couldn’t hold the lead, giving up an equalizer in the final minutes. Florida led 2-0 at home earlier this season against St. Petersburg,  only to see the Aztecs to tally twice to forge a tie.

As a freshman, Riveros led the University of the Cumberlands (Kentucky) in scoring this past season with 11 goals, which ranked 38th for all NAIA goal scorers in the nation.

Saturday’s home game against PSE will start at 7 p.m. at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex. Admission is free. Parking is $10 for single occupant vehicles  and $20 for multi-occupant vehicles. Monitor the team’s social media platforms for further game updates later in the week.