Shorthanded Tropics fall to Dragon City FC in battle for first place in UPSL's Florida West division

by Brian Ackley

AUBURNDALE, Fla. -- Missing their two leading scorers, the Florida Tropics  Presented by Bond Clinic lost for the first time ever in United Premier Soccer League play, falling to Dragon City FC, 2-0, Sunday night at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.

The Tropics had won 20 straight UPSL games, a streak which started lthe spring of 2019 en route to a national championship, and continued on into the first two games of this fall season.

Both Kewin Duque (three goals) and Victor Parreiras (two goals) were not available to play Sunday, and while the Tropics had the majority of the possession time, they weren’t able to ultimately create lots of quality scoring chances.

“We got off to a tough start, and then after falling behind early, we just couldn’t seem to put it all together at the right moments on offense,” Head Coach Lucas Teixeira said. “Sometimes that’s the result you get when you have to shuffle some players around and in and out of the lineup. The effort was good, but we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”

Pablo Arias in the first half and Alexandre Teixeira in the second half both hit crossbars, the closest the Tropics would come to scoring all evening.

Ricardo Garcia struck in just the second minute for Dragon City, cracking a shot past two defenders and goalkeep Hugo Silva for a 1-0 lead, and Jaason Raudales found just enough space in front to redirect a corner kick for a 2-0 lead before intermission.

Dragon City improved to 3-0 on the season, while the Tropics fall to 2-1, and are in a four-way tie for second in the UPSL’s Florida West division of the Southeastern Conference.  The two teams will rematch in Sarasota on Nov. 28.

Florida will remain home to host the PSE Conquistadores at 6 p.m. next Sunday, Oct. 18 at Lake Myrtle. It is a rematch of the season-opener by both teams, won 2-1 by the Tropics, on Sept. 27.

Admission to Saturday’s game is free. There is a $10 parking fee for single occupant vehicles and $20 for multi-occupant vehicles.

This is the fourth of five consecutive home matches for the Tropics, who will host Sporting Tampa Bay FC Sunday, Nov. 1 in a 6 p.m. start. For fans unable to support their side in person, all games are streamed live on the Tropics Youtube channel.

The Tropics will play a 12-game fall season and are the defending 2019 Spring UPSL national champions. Because of the ongoing pandemic, the UPSL did not play a spring season this year. Florida will also start its fifth season playing indoors in the Major Arena Soccer League this winter at the RP Funding Center. 

Following is a game recap, remaining schedule and up-to-date division standings.

Sept. 19    Florida Tropics 2, PSE Conquistadores 1

        Scorers: Parreiras, Duque 

Sept. 27     Huracan FC, postponed due to weather

Oct. 3     Florida Tropics 4, Winter Haven United FC 1

        Scorers: Duque 2, Parreiras, Albuquerque

Oct. 11    Dragon City FC 2, Florida Tropics 0

Sunday, Oct 18 vs. PSE Conquistadors, 6 p.m.

Sunday, November 1 vs. Sporting Tampa Bay FC, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 7 at St. Petersburg Aztecs FC, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14 at Huracan FC, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 21 @ Winter Haven United FC, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 28 @ Dragon City FC, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 5 vs. St. Petersburg Aztecs, 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 19 at Sporting Tampa Bay FC, 6 p.m.                     

                                                     GP    W    L    D    GF    GA    PTS

Dragon City FC                            3    3    0       0     11       1    9

PSE Conquistadores                  3    2    1      0     10        4    6

Winter Haven United FC           4    2    2       0    12         7    6

Florida Tropics                          3    2    1       0    6           4    6

St. Petersburg FC Aztecs       4    2    2         0    9            9    6

Huracan FC                               1    0    1        0    0            5    0

Sporting Tampa Bay FC        4    0    4          0    4          24    0

ABOUT THE FLORIDA TROPICS SC: Founded in 2016, the Florida Tropics SC Presented by Bond Clinic fields teams in both the United Premier Soccer League (outdoor at Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale) and Major Arena Soccer League (indoor at the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world). The Tropics are starting their second season of UPSL play, and will start their fifth season in the MASL as defending Eastern Conference champions this winter.

ABOUT THE UPSL: The UPSL was founded in 2011 and currently includes more than 300 teams nationally. The UPSL is the fastest growing Pro Development League in the USA, with 400-plus teams targeted for 2021/22 Season. Each UPSL team is individually owned and operated, and is responsible for maintaining UPSL minimum standards at all tier levels. UPSL teams are all eligible to participate in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Rounds through the leagues affiliation with the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) and the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA).

ABOUT THE MAJOR ARENA SOCCER LEAGUE:  With teams from Baltimore to San Diego, Milwaukee to Dallas, Kansas City to St. Louis and many cities in between, The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States. and Mexico.

ABOUT BOND CLINIC: Founded in 1948 by Dr. Benjamin, Bond Clinic, P.A. is proud to be one of the first businesses established in downtown Winter Haven.  They are a multi-specialty medical group, currently offering 28 specialties and over 90 providers.  Bond Clinic has 10 campuses which are located in the heart of Central Florida and our mission is to provide quality health care in a compassionate, ethical and efficient manner to this region.  In addition, we are committed to our community and driven to increase access to medical care while reducing the cost to our patients.