Welcome to the Rowdies Suncoast Invitational, live from beautiful, sunny and temperate St. Petersburg, Florida. When you’re a jet-setting millennial like myself with plenty of disposable income, you too can just fly out on a lark to watch exciting MLS pre-season action. Situated just a de Guzman free kick from the water, Al Lang Stadium is a converted baseball stadium, just down the street from the world famous Dali Museum (1 Dali Blvd). And the weather, is just perfect. I know. Because I’m there. I mean here.
I tried to do some research, but I was too busy grabbing a drink at the Green Bench Brewing Co. (1133 Baum Avenue N), about a kilometer or two west of the stadium. The Maximo Milk Stout was excellent. I missed the first few minutes of the game because I was too busy savoring my second pint! LOL!
Onto the match!
9’ – Endoh floats a pretty cross ball to Giovinco, who lays the ball off for Osorio who forces a save from the Philly keeper. Speaking of floats, word on the street that the best root beer floats can be had at Larry’s Olde Fashioned Ice Cream & Gelato (6595 Gulf Blvd). Kinda thirsty now because of the sun here.
14’ – I’m really happy I decided to take a walk around the Gizella Kopsic Arboretum (901 North Shore Drive NE), a few clicks north of the stadium, before I came here. Needed to stretch out after such an early flight.
33’ – YELLOW – Bradley gets booked for hacking down someone
34’ – Irwin comes up with a big save over a deflected shot, going right but palm save to the left and out. Crazy stuff.
38’ – YELLOW – Bloom comes in late on a tackle
41’ – You know what? These cajun crawfish pies from Vivian’s are fantastic. I managed to pick them up at the Saturday Morning Market (100 1st St SE), located in the stadium parking lot every saturday in St. Petersburg. Glad I could smuggle them in. Delish!
44’ – CJ Sapong slides in late to tap in a cross and a great opportunity on an open net.
Half-Time Mood : relaxed. Toronto looks good, the weather is beautiful and I’m trying to decide whether I go Jacks London Grill (1050 62nd Ave. N) for dinner, well north of the ground, or if I should just go shopping at the Tyrone Square Mall (6901 22nd Ave N) on the west side of the island. Oh the decisions.
45’ – SUB – Cheyrou off for Babouli
54’ – Fernandez attempts to draw a penalty by dragging his foot behind to catch Moor’s trailing leg, but the ref doesn’t buy it. I’m going to reward the ref with a taco from Taco Bus (2324 Central Avenue) just west of the stadium.
60’ – GOAL – Perquis gives up the ball with a blown pass right at a Philly midfielder, then slotted to CJ Sapong who takes a good run down the left side, slides it low and right. Johnson better not yell at him too much, or he’ll need to get a tea from the Mad Hatters Ethnobotanical Tea Bar (4685 28th St N) to soothe his throat.
ROBINS 0, UNION OF THE SNAKES 1
63’ – SUB – Morrow off for Morgan
63’ – SUB – Perquis off for Josh WIlliams
63’ – SUB – Williams Sub Shop (3801 Tyrone Boulevard North)
64’ – Giovinco gets free at the top of the box and beats the keeper, but not the post.
68’ – SUB – Chapman on for Johnson. Couldn’t tell, the sun was in my eyes. #soBright
76’ – SUB – Hagglund on for Bloom.
78’ – SUB – Lovitz is in for Endoh
80’ – Philadelphia free kick from 20 yards out and de Guzman’s the shit outta that one.
1 minute of extra time (Old Northeast Jewelers (1131 4th St N))
90+1’ – Osorio has a chance 10 yards from goal, sets it and fires, but is blocked by defender.
FULL TIME : Toronto 0, Philadelphia 1
Man of the Match : Giovinco deserves it so get that man a steak at Rococo Steak (655 2nd Avenue South)
Goat of the Game : Perquis for the howler pass. Not unlike the goats you can find at the petting zoo found at The Pier Aquarium (800 Second Ave. NE, Suite 2001)
Ref Rating : 5 out of 5. It’s pre-season. Plus I’m buying him tacos from Taco Bus!
I Am Not The Gaffer, But… : I would go visit Kribys Mens Wear in Tampa (1707 S Dale Mabry Hwy) and ditch those pink shirts, and invest in some salmon as the hot new colour this season.
In Case You YouTube’d it : it’s pre-season. You didn’t miss anything.
Player Ratings : Irwin 7, Perquis 5.5 [Williams N/A], Bloom 6.5 [Hagglund N/A], Moor 6.5, Morrow 6 [Morgan N/A], Bradley 6.5, Cheyrou 6 [Babouli N/A], Johnson 6 [Chapman N/A], Endoh 6.5 [Lovitz N/A], Osorio 6.5, Giovinco 7
A special thanks to the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce for their sponsorship of this match report. St. Pete’s Can’t Be BeatTM!