Tampa Bay Rowdies to Play Fort Lauderdale Strikers For the First Time Since 1993

Editor’s note: The following is a reprint of a MLS Talk article from two years ago when the Florida derby between Miami FC and Tampa Bay was played. This weekend the Florida derby returns, but it takes on a deeper sense of importance because it’s the first actual derby between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Tampa Bay Rowdies since 1993, 19 years ago!

The NASL game kicks off at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg on Saturday, April 28 at 7:30pm. Ticket information can be found on the Rowdies website.

One of the biggest derbies in US soccer history returns Saturday night when the Tampa Bay Rowdies visit Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium for a match against their arch-enemy.

Since the 1970’s, the names and ownership of both Florida clubs have changed on many occasions. But the competitive nature between Tampa and South Florida remains – more than 30 years later.

Saturday’s USSF Div 2 game between Miami FC and FC Tampa Bay Rowdies will be the first game between both clubs.

The Rowdies, managed by former MLS player Paul Dalglish, will be hoping for a strong performance on the field from a team that he has carefully molded over the last several months.

Miami FC, meanwhile, will be hoping for their first home win of the season after draws against Rochester and Vancouver.

But in a game like this, the storylines often carry themselves over to what happens off the pitch. Such as whether the Rowdies will bring 200-300 supporters for the 3-4 hour drive across state. And whether the South Florida soccer community will come to Lockhart for the first rematch of many between their team (i.e. the “Strikers”) and the Rowdies.

From personal experience, I have mixed emotions about Tampa fans. In the years of the ASL and APSL leagues from the late 80s and early 90s, I remember the jovial Rowdies fans standing in Lockhart to cheer their team on.

But I also remember a bus trip by Miami Fusion supporters for an away game against Tampa Bay Mutiny, where the Fusion fans (myself included) were chased and attacked by Tampa fans while exiting the stadium.

Let’s hope that the rivalry between both teams, on and off the pitch, will be a healthy competitive spirit.

Kickoff time at Lockhart Stadium is 7:30pm. But be sure to get there between 5-5:30pm for a tailgate party which will include free food and drinks.

13 thoughts on “Tampa Bay Rowdies to Play Fort Lauderdale Strikers For the First Time Since 1993”

    1. Absolutely! Just because you don’t doesn’t mean that others do not.

      It’s one of the most historic rivalries in club soccer in the United States.


      The Gaffer

    2. Ben, Maybe you could care less who wins, but what about: 1) The
      history-the fact that US soccer has a history is cool enough. 2)
      The ARE fans that do care, for instance, Vancouver and Seattle have
      played around 100 times, that is pretty cool. This is cool too.
      Maybe you don’t care, but people should and do. As for you not
      caring….guarenteed no one cares about that. 3) You are most
      likely too young to remember the 70s, but you can read about those
      games. You should, it would make you appreciate where US soccer
      was, and inspite of WAY too many people like you who don’t care,
      where is it is now. It has survived and even thrived. Good stuff

  1. I care. But then again I’m from Florida. Whether you are talking
    about MLS trying to establish a successful second division in this
    country, Rowdies/Strikers is important. There is history there. We
    need our regional rivalries and this is one that doesn’t have to be
    made up. Its just being reborn. I’m not saying this is akin to
    Timbers vs Sounders at the MLS level, but I like the fact that the
    Northwest has a good thing going and I would think people would
    want to see other regional rivalries grow even if it stays in a
    second division.

    1. edit: meant to say “Whether you are talking about MLS or whether
      you are trying to establish a successful second division in this
      country, Rowdies/Strikers is important

  2. Good story. I wish MLS would really embrace the history of the
    sport in this country. There are some great stories and traditions,
    including the NASL derbies like this one and in Cascadia but also
    reaching back to the various ASLs and the US Open Cup. Any clue on
    what the size of the crowd might end up looking like, Gaffer?

    1. It probably won’t be as big as the one San Antonio had last week (10,000+).

      Last week’s attendance for the Rowdies at home against Carolina was 2,288 but my guess is 4,500+ tomorrow.


      The Gaffer

      1. Gaffer, You seem to know your stuff. How about a piece on the
        greatest derbies in American soccer history? Obviously, Cascadia
        and South Florida would be in it but you could even reach back into
        the original ASL the battles between Bethlehem Steel and Fall River

        1. BamaMan, thanks. I would love to, if I had the time. But if you get a chance, listen to the interview we did with North American soccer historian, Colin Jose at http://majorleaguesoccertalk.libsyn.com/webpage/major_league_soccer_talk_113_colin_jose_us_canada_historian and with David Wangerin, US soccer history author at http://epltalk.libsyn.com/webpage/epl_talk_david_wangerin_dave_rutter_interviews

          Plus, there’s this — http://epltalk.com/the-history-of-european-soccer-teams-touring-north-america-30820


          The Gaffer

    2. If it doesn’t have a mls tm logo on the side they won’t recognize
      it. Case in point Ccl this year. Even though tfc qualified through
      the Canadian championship and not through mls , mls still pulled
      out a mls4tfc kumbaya hashtag. If a usl or nasl qualified to the
      champions league and got far mls wouldn’t even mention them. Like I
      said if it doesn’t have a mls tm logo they won’t recognize it.

  3. That’s not a bad number for a second division side. Perhaps folks
    closer to situation will refute me but I’ve been impressed with the
    steps the NASL has taken to maintain a creditable US second
    division. I’d still like to see some form of pro/rel between the
    NASL and the USL Pro at some point even if MLS is forever off the

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