After a 3-0 victory over Miami FC, The Tampa Bay Rowdies have a strong lead in the Group H table as well as the Coastal Cup for the first time since 2016.
Stating in 2010 The Coastal Cup is a trophy awarded to the best Florida team in USL Championship. Since the Rowdies left NASL in 2016. Participation for the Cup has been put on hold until this season when Miami FC joined the USL Championship.
For a majority of the Cups history the Rowdies have the most wins with 5, and this season seems to be more of the same. The Rowdies needed a big home win on the road. Captain Sebastian Guenzatti scores his 4th goal of the season in the (38’). The future looks bright for the young fan favorite Malik Johnson scored his 2nd goal of the season in the (85’), deflating any hope of a Miami FC comeback. Keeping Juan Tejada out of the starting 11, gave them some much needed speed at the end of the game with him coming up with a goal in extra minutes (90’+4’).
The team is still undefeated with another away game on Wednesday night against ATL 2 and then back home against Miami FC for my birthday day. With a 6 point lead in the table already two more big wins against Group H teams will definitely help us clinch a playoff birth soon. With 14 points we are second place in the entire USL Championship. With a big road game coming up against ATL 2, the Mobsters & the Casuals with be distantly COYR, until the next Sunshine Series Game Aug 16 at Al Lang.
With the news of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his team purchasing the XFL out of bankruptcy, the plans of which teams will return for the next season are still in question. Which leaves Vipers fans with only one goal in mind, keeping the Vipers in Tampa Bay.
Before the league closed earlier this year there where some rumblings about a few teams being relocated. The Vipers are apparently one of those teams due to low attendance at their only two games, one of which was a Sunday night game. The cost of playing at Raymond James might be a factor but teams like NY played in NFL stadiums as well and had smaller turnouts.
As the league was starting to take of fan interest in the Tampa Bay community was growing with our next home game probably being our highest attended game if it was to have been played. The TB Fang Gang was ready to step in as the Tampa Bay Vipers official supporters group, and now more then ever is ready to rep the team.
The push for keeping the Vipers in Tampa Bay is not to say that Orlando shouldn’t have a team, just don’t take ours. It would make more sense for Orlando to get a new team of their own to embrace rather than taking ours. The league already invested all the time and money into creating the Tampa Bah Vipers brand and fans, with other markets like LA and NY both having low numbers it would look bad on the league to just give up on four of their charter teams after one season. The Fang Gang and fans of the Tampa Bay Vipers will fight to keep our team in Tampa Bay!
Supporters Groups are essential in the sport of soccer but slowly this trend is finding its way into other sports like hockey and baseball. With groups like “The 7 Line Army” the supporters group of the New York Mets, its time for the Tampa Bay Rays to have their own supporters group, we are The Rays Republic!
The Rays always get a bad rap for having no fans at the Trop, but with the hype built off last years playoff run and the glimpses of hope so far in this social distanced 2020 MLB Season, I feel fans will be ready to get back in the Trop and support the ball club more than ever.
With only cut outs being allowed at games for the 2020 season The Rays Republic has had time to plan out their inaugural 2021 season. All the Saturday home games are separated by Blue and Yellow representing the color the Supporters will wear for that game. Once game plans are made available the group will be offering tickets to support the club presumably in section 134/136 over in the right field corner. Rays Republic shirts will be included in the ticket package. If you already have season tickets don’t worry, you can still buy the shirt and membership separate even if you are not sitting in the section. I feel that this is a great option allowing The Rays Republic to spread across the entire Trop. By next year the group will have all the chants ready to get the Trop loud and rocking, my personal favorite being the “Choi!!” chant for Ji-Man.
With groups like “Sticks Of Fire” supporters of the Lightning and Ralph’s Mob supporters of the Tampa Bay Rowdies, I see no reason why the Rays can’t have their own supporters group. It’s actually a great step at building a loyal fan base inside the ball park, yet another reason not to move the team out of the Tampa Bay Area. For more information on The Rays Republic follow their Instgram @theraysrepublic.