Miami FC-Tampa: A Rivalry Renewed

April 30, 2010 - North American Soccer League (NASL) - Fort Lauderdale Strikers News Release

Miami, April 29, 2010 - Miami, April 30, 2010 - A new era begins this weekend as Miami FC takes on the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first game of the Coastal Cup on May 1. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium.

It will be the first meeting between the Blues (0-0-2) and the Rowdies (1-1-0), who began play this season as an inaugural team and are coming off a 1-0 loss at NSC Minnesota.

"We are looking forward to playing Tampa," Miami FC head coach Victor Pastora said. "They have done a good job putting together a competitive team. This could be the start of a great rivalry and it is our intention to get a head start on Saturday."

The game marks the revival of a rivalry between the two Florida teams that dates back over a span of three decades and over several different pro soccer leagues, including the old-NASL Strikers-Rowdies and the more-modern MLS Fusion-Mutiny.

The Coastal Cup is an annual derby that will feature the two teams where the team that ends the season with more points against each other in the four regular season matches wins the cup. In the case of a tie, the tiebreaker will be determined by goal differential.

SCOUTING THE ROWDIES

FC Tampa Bay, led by head coach Paul Dalglish, is starting the season with a three-game road trip which ends Saturday against Miami FC. The Rowdies won their first ever game against Crystal Palace Baltimore by a score of 1-0 on April 16.

But the Rowdies are coming into Lockhart Stadium fresh off a 1-0 loss to NSC Minnesota after a lone penalty kick goal by Leilei Gao in the 34th minute on April 24.

The Rowdies controlled possession for most of the game, applying abundant pressure in the second half, but were unable to put the ball in the back of the net and suffered their first ever loss.

LAST TIME OUT

Miami FC is coming off a bye week after earning a scoreless draw against the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps on April 17.

The Blues applied constant offensive pressure throughout the match and created a number of scoring opportunities, but were unable to get on the scoreboard.

Miami FC has earned two points this season in two games thus far, both of them ending in draws. The Blues will look to earn their first victory of the season against the Rowdies.

RETURN OF THE KING

Forward Aaron King, who made five appearances for the Blues during the latter part of the 2009 season and scored three goals for the squad, returns to South Florida as a member of FC Tampa Bay and has already made and impact for the Rowdies.

King will hold a special place for Rowdies fans, scoring the first goal in franchise history in the FC Tampa Bay's 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace Baltimore.

FIRST OFFICIAL IN-STATE GAME

For the Blues and the Rowdies, this game will represent the first time both teams have played an official league game against an in-state opponent.

Since the Blues first took the field in 2006, they have been the only pro men's team from Florida.

Florida is the only state in the USSF D-2 Pro League to have two teams.

Game time against FC Tampa Bay is set for 7:30 p.m. at Lockhart Stadium.

For real time updates don't forget to follow Miami FC on twitter at www.twitter.com/miamifc.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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