With the United States' women's national team battling for Olympic gold in Rio (Update: Welp, not anymore), you may be paying more attention to soccer these days. Well, good news, fútbol fans: The first Florida Clásico Coastal Cup title will be awarded this Saturday at FIU Stadium.
What is the Florida Clásico, you might ask? It's the new name for the three-match bout between Miami FC and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The crosstown rivals have tied both of the series' first two matches 1-1 this season, so it's all on the line this Saturday, August 13, at 8 p.m.
Besides getting to witness South Florida soccer history, the Saturday night event offers an opportunity for sports fans to get out on the cheap. Tickets to Florida Clásico only run $10 to $20, and from 7 to 7:45 p.m. you can get beer for three bucks and a hot dog and soda for two. The first 5,000 fans will receive Thunder Sticks, and the first 100 fans to arrive at Autograph Alley after the match get a chance to meet and get a signature from their favorite Miami FC players.
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Lately, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have been in the news for reasons outside of their performance on the field. The team announced it will be leaving Lockhart Stadium for Central Broward Stadium due to poor attendance and the deteriorating state of the 57-year-old venue. According to Strikers managing director Luis Cuccattihile, the team loved the history behind Lockhart, but the circumstances surrounding their battle to stay there just became too difficult.
“I understand that Lockhart has history, and history is good,” Cuccatti said, “but history’s not bringing me revenue.”
Cuccatti continued, "I like that field. It’s easy to watch soccer there. You’re close to the action. It has some good qualities. The only problem is that it’s a 60-year-old stadium, and every time you touch something, it costs money.”
Both Miami FC and the Strikers are completing what has been a disappointing season, as both teams sit near the bottom of their leagues' standings — the Strikers are in dead last with just four points and one win on the year. Bringing home the Florida Clásico title would at the very least be some consolation for a season gone sour.