Here is the first installment of our blog by FC Tampa Bay Captain Frankie Sanfilippo:
Monday’s victory over Fort Lauderdale was a great win for us. The fourth of July crowd was unbelievable. I think it was even better than opening day. There was a great atmosphere and it was a great win.
I did not realize how long the rivalry between Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale has been going on. Before the game at practice on Sunday, we had former Tampa Bay Rowdies player Mike Connell speak to us about some of the history of the Fourth of July games and about the rivalry between Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale. Since this is my first year playing here I did not know that the rivalry goes back to the 1970’s and that they played in front of huge crowds.
Connell’s talk gave the whole team inspiration and added a little extra fire to our game. The guys were well prepared and we scored in the first 15 minutes. Then it seemed like right after we scored the goal that the lightning delayed the match. When the game resumed we only had 15 minutes left in the first half when the Strikers scored to tie the game 1-1. So at the start of the second half it was like a brand new ballgame.
We definitely dominated the second half. We came out with fire and intensity and offensively we turned our chances into goals, which is something we have been striving for all year.
The game last Wednesday, June 29 in Fort Lauderdale started off slow because before the match it was pouring down rain. We were worried that we weren’t going to get to play and the game was going to be postponed again, but it let up just in time.
Once we got into our stride our spirits picked up which resulted in us scoring a goal. We were just very unfortunate that Fort Lauderdale scored a goal in injury time to tie the game. It was very disappointing. The whole team thought we were going to come away with three points but we only got one point for the draw instead.
On the bus ride back to Tampa after the game we knew that we needed to get the win on July 4 to keep us in the league standings. We were just relaxing and watching a movie on the bus and were eating pizza that we had picked up for the ride home when we realized that our teammate Kwame is actually allergic to cheese. We had to stop and pick him up something he could eat because all we had was the pizza. We ended up getting home about 3:30 a.m.
Now we have to put our focus towards Puerto Rico. Our flight to Puerto Rico is direct, so we don’t have to worry about a long trip or making any stops. It is going to be a good game. Last time we played them we lost 2-0 but I thought we dominated the game and were unfortunate to not score any goals.
We need to go down there and come away with the win. We are not sure what the weather is going to be like, but San Juan is beautiful so we cannot wait to play there.
Everyone is in a good mood, recuperating, getting back to training this week and we are all in high spirits to keep this winning streak going and we cannot wait to come back and play Bolton on Thursday, July 14.