Top of the table showdown Saturday as Florida Tropics battle Dragon City FC in big rematch

by Brian Ackley

AUBURNDALE, Fla. –  The United Premier Soccer League’s Florida West “game of the year” is set Saturday as the Florida Tropics presented by Bond Clinic, travels to take on division leading Dragon City FC. Kickoff is at 3 p.m. at the Premier Sports Campus, 5895 Post Boulevard in Lakewood Ranch.

Dragon City is 7-0-1 this fall, with their lone tie coming a few weeks back against Winter Haven United. The Tropics come in with a 5-1-0 mark, good for second place, four points back in the table to the Sarasota based team. However, with a win, Florida will move to within one point of the top spot, and would still have played one less game than Dragon City

Dragon City is the only blemish on the Tropics record so far this fall, taking a 2-0 win over Florida at Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale on Oct. 11. Dragon City trailed 2-0 last weekend aginast the St. Petersburg Aztecs, but rallied for a 3-2 win to remain unbeaten.

“We feel as though we are a much improved side now,” head coach Lucas Teixeira said. “We have come together solidly with a much more aggressive, team approach to our play, and that has made a big difference, so we look forward to Saturday’s challenge with a different mindset than perhaps we played with the first time we met.”

The Tropics have two regular season games remaining after this weekend including a Dec. 5 home matchup against the Aztecs and a Dec. 19 road trip to meet Sporting Tampa Bay FC. Two additional games are still to be rescheduled, including a rainout on Sept. 27 at home against Huracan FC, and a road date Nov. 7 in St. Petersburg.

Florida, and second-team All Major Arena Soccer League Second Team goalokeep Hugo Silva are coming off their first shutout of the season, a 3-0 win on the road against the United last weekend. MASL Third Team selection Ricardo Carvalho, who banged in 30 goals as the Tropics stormed to an Eastern Conference championship last spring before the current pandemic brought the season to an early end, had two goals in the win.

The Tropics are in the midst of a 12-game fall outdoor  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 in Lakeland. Training camp will commence in early December, with regular season MASL games set to kick off in early January.

                                                   GP    W    L   D  GF  GA    PTS

Dragon City FC                           8    7    0    1    28      5     22

Florida Tropics                          7    6    1    0     33    7      18

PSE Conquistadores                 8    5    3    0    27     15    15

Winter Haven United FC           8    3    4    1    21     16    10

St. Petersburg FC Aztecs        6    3    3    0    21     13       9

Sporting Tampa Bay FC         10    1    9    0    12     67      3

Huracan FC                                5    0    5    0     3       22      0