The Cape Coral Hurricanes are looking forward to Friday's NPSL league game at 7 p.m. Friday against the Tampa Marauders at Cape Coral High School's Dave Warkentin Field.
The two teams already have played three preseason matches against each other since the two cities are so close and the Marauders have won each of those matches.
"This is the one that counts," says J.P. Terrasi, the Hurricanes' general manager. "The first few games were preseason and just warm up matches. We were only able to play our local high school and college players then, but now that we have our full team together, we're looking forward to a different outcome."
The Hurricanes made the trip to Tampa last week in round three of the "Gulf Coast Cup" series of exhibition matches with the Marauders, but again was short handed both before and after the match. ?
"With a few guys just getting into town from college and a couple others having to work, we only took 15 to Tampa. With injuries to starting goalkeeper John Damasco Jr. and Cody Antonini, we came back worse off then we went up." said Hurricanes coach John Damasco Sr. "Our goalkeeper went down with a bad ankle injury as he stepped into a hole on the field and had to be carried off. Cody slightly pulled a hamstring as he fell in the center of the field where it was mostly sand. Two very tough losses early in the game to try and recover from. Overall, not a great trip."
Then, things got a little worse as one of the Hurricanes players got a second yellow card very early in the second half leaving the Hurricanes to finish the game with just 10 men on the field.
"Not many yellow cards are given out in friendly games," exclaimed Terrasi, "but surely not an unprovoked second one to send him off. Just not heard of and pretty disappointing. We seemed to come together and play well after that setback until the very end of the game. It's just difficult to finish out a game being a man down for half of it."
Forward Antonio Wint got the Hurricanes' only goal early in the second half as they showed a bit of life. Two questionable offsides calls spelled their doom and the team limped back home determined to make things right in the rematch on Friday night.
"The team played well again, we just had some calls go against us that was hard to come back from. It will be a different story Friday night," stated Damasco.
One thing is for certain, there definitely is a rivalry brewing between the two teams that will prove to make for a great game.
"This game is HUGE for us," said Terrasi. "I'm confident that we'll get the win here at home, but it surely will be entertaining!"
Both teams are members of the newly formed Sunshine Conference of the NPSL (National Premier Soccer League) that also includes Miami United, Jacksonville United and the Georgia Revolution.
Friday night marks the first official NPSL league match between the two teams.
Tickets will be sold at the gate for $6 for adults, $4 for students. Youth (14 and under) who are members of any youth soccer organization get in free with a paid adult as long as they wear their soccer club jersey.