A hallmark of the USL’s growth and fan support has been the budding regional rivalries that have coalesced. Heading into the 2017 season, much anticipation surrounded Saturday’s opening match between newcomers the Tampa Bay Rowdies and second-year Orlando City B in this I-4 Derby.
The game and environment lived up to the hype as an Al Lang-record crowd of 7,710 was on hand during the Rowdies’ 1-0 victory.
“It was unbelievable,” said Georgi Hristov, who scored the game’s lone goal, a second-half penalty kick. “I think everyone understands in this organization with [Owner] Bill Edwards that we are trying to do something different here in Tampa Bay. It’s very important to us, and I really appreciate all the people coming tonight and that they’re going to keep coming and sell out the next game too.”
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