2013 I-4 Derby Presented by United World Soccer
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Orlando City SC
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl (1610 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32805)
Admission: Tickets are still available by calling (855) ORL-CITY, or by clicking here.
The Rowdies will have 17 signed players available for Saturday’s match, as well as nine trialists.
2013 I-4 Derby Presented by United World Soccer
Orlando City SC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies announced on November 8, 2012, a home and away preseason friendly starting March of 2013. The first match will be this Saturday in Orlando at the Florida Citrus Bowl, with the second following on Saturday, March 30 in St. Petersburg at Al Lang Stadium. Fans can purchase their tickets for the second leg of the I-4 Derby at Al Lang by clicking here.
The series comes after continuous fan suggestion of creating a strong rivalry between the two franchises. The Lions and Rowdies, both recent champions in the USL PRO and NASL, are top-flight clubs that show the rapid growth of the beautiful game in the sunshine state.
Scouting Orlando City
Orlando City and Tampa Bay will meet for the second time this year, after dropping their first-ever meeting 2-0 in February. The Rowdies and Lions played on Saturday, February 23 in the final match of the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic. An early goal off a penalty kick in the first minute gave Orlando City the 1-0 lead. Forward Jamie Watson placed his kick into the bottom left corner of the net for the early lead. Forward Dennis Chin sentenced the 2-0 final score in the 76th minute, filtering through the Rowdies back line and scoring off a breakaway.
The Lions, who currently play in third division USL Pro, are coming off a regular season title having finished with a record of 17-6-1 (W-T-L). The first-place finish earned Orlando City their second consecutive regular season title, but they would go on to lose in the playoffs to the Wilmington Hammerheads in the semifinal match 4-3.
Adrian Heath has been at the helm of Orlando City since the 2011 inaugural season, where they won both the regular season title, as well as the league championship. The Lions play a traditional 4-4-2, led by the 2012 USL Pro leading scorer forward Dennis Chin. The Oviedo native scored 11 goals in 24 matches, becoming the largest offensive threat in the league.
The Lions have recently signed midfielder Freddie Braun, who joined Orlando at the beginning of the season as a trialist. Braun began his professional career when he signed with Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers in 2011. Recently he played for Portland Timbers U23s, where he scored eight goals in 30 Premier Development League appearances for the U23 side. Orlando also will boast forward Jamie Watson in the final-third, who proved to be a constant threat in the first meeting between both clubs. Watson finished the 2012 season with five goals and three assists for the Lions.
Orlando City has made roster moves since the last meeting against the Rowdies, adding Orlando City U23’s Captain Jonathan Mendoza and University of Tampa alumni Brian Fekete to the squad. Both had previously been on trial with Orlando before signing with the team.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their first win of the 2013 season, defeating USF 1-0 on Saturday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium in Tampa, Fla. The NASL Champions got off on the right foot, scoring in their first clear chance of the match. In the 20th minute, Johnson picked up a pass outside the box and found himself with a clear shot on USF’s goal. USF’s goalkeeper Matthew O’Neal was able to get a touch on the ball, but it wasn’t enough to avoid the Rowdies first goal. The Rowdies defense was able to hold the one-goal lead, denying any scoring chances in the final minutes. With the 1-0 score, the Rowdies picked up their first win and clean sheet of the 2013 Preseason.
The Rowdies will have three new faces for Saturday’s match, including the recently signed forward Georgi Hristov. The Bulgarian native has recently seen action in Bulgaria’s first division, playing for Lokomotiv Sofia and Slavia Sofia.
Tampa Bay’s new faces will also include midfielder Jamael Cox, Raphael’s brother. The 20 year-old joins the club as a trialist after spending several seasons with the Seattle Sounders Academy, including their U23 squad. Another trialists that has come onboard for the 2013 Preseason, is defender Jordan Gafa. The defender has recently captained the 2012 University of North Carolina soccer team, where he was known for his technical ability at the right-back position.
Rowdies Head Coach Ricky Hill
“Rivalries are always intense games because of the lead-up to the match. We know our supporters will be travelling to Orlando for the first leg and we want to make sure we can give them something to celebrate. The players are eager to put forth a good performance tomorrow as it will impact our preseason positively as we approach the home opener.”
Tampa Bay will continue their 2013 preseason against Eckerd College on Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30 p.m. The match will be played on campus at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida.
The reigning NASL Soccer Bowl Champions will start the 2013 NASL Spring Season by hosting the Carolina RailHawks in its 2013 home opener on Saturday, April 6 at Al Lang Stadium. For information on 2013 season ticketscontact the front office at 813-287-1539 or email@example.com. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.