Man City Transfer Target!
May 27, 2012, 5:31 AM
Location: Long Island City, NY
Team(s): Tranmere Rovers, South Liverpool (the South will rise again), Cammell Laird
Post #1 of 3
I booked these few days’ break in Florida back in the cold of winter, once I’d heard the Scots were coming over for a friendly. With a bit of research, some luck with the fixtures and the keys to a rental car, I managed to get three games in overall:
Thursday May 24
Orlando City 1-1 Los Angeles Blues
USL Pro (i.e. level 3)
No matchday programme or teamsheet but a 2012 season programme was on sale for $5.
Parking ($10) and catering (e.g. $12 for a large corn dog with a few pitiful fries alongside) were extortionate. Beer menu was Heineken, so didn’t even bother looking for the price.
Reigning champions and league leaders Orlando, managed by Adrian Heath and with a sprinkling of Football League journeymen (Anthony Pulis, James O’Connor and Luke Bowden) in the ranks, were given a tough match by the unfancied visitors, who probably deserved a point. The game was very watchable and played at a decent tempo but, as always at this level, the finishing was poor and, at times, jabulani-esque.
Orlando have ambitions of gaining an MLS franchise in the next few years and the work they’ve done in building up the club and its fan-base should serve them well. They play at the Citrus Bowl, located a little out of town, to the west, and the scene of John Aldridge’s sweary blast at an unfortunate linesman in the Ireland-Mexico 1994 World Cup match. Built in 1936 and showing its age, it’s hard to believe this would come anywhere near meeting FIFA’s requirements for the big one these days. A horseshoe-shaped all-seater with 3 tiers on the sides and two tiers behind the goal, only the lower tier was open but you’re close to the pitch and 7,000 fans helped make a decent atmosphere.
Half-time on the pitch saw a bunch of new recruits being sworn into the US Army, shouting out their pledge of allegiance then receiving warm applause from the crowd. Never seen that before, and all very different to the crossbar challenge and half-time raffle.
Friday May 25
Tampa Bay Rowdies 0-0 Minnesota Stars
NASL (i.e. level 2)
Programme: Free - 8 page 2012 season programme together with a sheet listing both squads.
Food and drink was available. To my shame, I had a Budweiser… but this was Budweiser Lime, and quite palatable it was too, even at $5 a can.
A pretty dire game at the Al Lang Stadium in St Petersburg, nr Tampa, but good to see one of the old names from the halcyon days of the NASL (though the current club was formed in 2008), resplendent in their famous old kit of all white with green and yellow hooped sleeves and socks. A slightly portly, grey haired chap prowled the technical area for the home side, and was none other than Luton Town legend Ricky Hill, who’s been coaching this side of the Atlantic on and off for a number of years. No-one near to his quality on the field tonight, though, including ex-Bristol Rover Stuart Campbell, seemingly the Rowdies’ star player.
The stadium is an old baseball venue located on the waterfront by the marina. The stand stretches round from behind one goal to just before the half way line, beyond which a small grass slope is also accessible. And that’s it for viewing facilities – essentially a one and two thirds sided ground. It seems sufficient for their current crowds though and, although sightlines can be awkward, you could easily wander round and get a seat with a decent view. Don’t know if they have realistic ambitions of going for an MLS franchise but they would certainly need a new stadium to stand any chance.
Saturday May 26
USA 5–1 Scotland (at EverBank Field, Jacksonville)
Programme: None, though a sheet listing both squads was included in the 2012 US Men’s National Team Yearbook, which sold at $10.
Coach Klinsmann is working hard to develop the traditionally solid, but defence-minded, US into a more attacking force and the results were apparent tonight. In front of a healthy and vocal crowd, including a good number of Scots, the US were sharper and more incisive throughout, with Landon Donovan – rumoured to finally be ready for a move away from LA Galaxy – doing his prospective signing on fee no harm at all with a hat-trick. This is the first of three important friendlies (Brazil next) for the US in the run up to two WC Qualifiers next month, whereas this was just an end of season jolly for the Scots, and the difference in attitude showed. While the US performance had much to be admired, it’s very sad to see such an insipid Scotland side, especially given the great support they take everywhere.
Located very near downtown Jacksonville, on the banks of the St Johns River, the ground is a fairly typical NFL stadium, multi-tiered and no roof, and home to the Jacksonville Jaguars. With a good-sized crowd, it looked impressive. But getting to the seats before the game was a joke, with bottlenecks inside the narrow, 20 yard long tunnels leading to the seats from the concourse. Not at all pleasant, and thankfully there was no surge. Rather than experience the same at half time, I avoided the catering, though a few pre-match snifters at the local River City Brewing Brewpub and Bold City Brewery did the job.
(This post was edited by paulh66 on May 29, 2012, 4:24 AM)