Tropics add emphatic win over Conquistadores, 7-0, in playoffs prep

by Brian Ackley

AUBURNDALE -- The Florida Tropics will head to the United Premier Soccer League's post-season on a high note, after a surprisingly lopsided 7-0 win over the PSE Conquistadores Saturday night at Lake Myrtle Sports Complex.

The Tropics finish the regular season at 8-2-2, and currently sit in first place in the Florida West division. However, the St. Petersburg Aztecs could still claim the top spot with wins in their final two games of the season, the last of which is scheduled Tuesday against PSE.

Florida raced to a 3-0 lead, and netted four more in the final half to roll into the postseason not having lost a game since April 24 when they fell on the road, 1-0, to PSE.

Opening round of the playoffs will be next Saturday for the Tropics, whose opponent is still to potentially be determined by the outcome of the matchup Tuesday between PSE and the Aztecs.

Saturday, Nico Riveros scored his second goal in as many games, and one of the prettiest goals of the entire Tropics season, converting on a bicycle kick finish for a 1-0 lead after PSE lost forward Wilmer Yanez to a red card 15 minutes into the game. As a freshman, Riveros led the University of the Cumberlands in goals last year with 11, and was 38th overall in goal scoring in the entire NAIA.

Ariel Gonzalez followed in the 34th minute with the first of his three goals on the night, stepping off the endline and burying a laser to the top shelf. Victor Parreiras finished the first-half barrage with a pretty goal of his onw just minutes later, controlling a loose ball near the top of the box and using some fancy footwork to create some shooting space before curling a perfect strike to the top right corner of the goal.

Julian Hall and Sami Sepulveda also added second half goals as the Tropics equalled their highest goal scoring output of the game, getting seven goals for the third time this spring.  

Updated playoff information will be posted on the team's website and social media platforms once all details are finalized, although the team will be in Naples, who is hosting the divisional semi-finals, on June 19.