There was plenty of local interest in the NASL Final in Florida last night. Tampa Bay Rowdies had three players who are well known to fans in the Pacific Northwest.
Tacoma, WA Native Rafael Cox, former Portland Timber Keith Savage and former Kitsap Puma co-captain Daniel Scott are all nourishing winners medals, as well as (probably) hangovers this morning after the Rowdies memorably penalty shoot out win.
They came back from 2-0 down in the first leg to Minnesota Stars to win 3-1 with Savage assisting on the first goal and scoring the second. He played 40 games for the USL Portland Timbers between 2009 and 2010.
Savage acknowledged the Timbers fans’ support for him after the match, adding that he hoped the amazing Tampa support could grow into something as good as the Timbers Army:
“It was an unforgettable night and a great feeling to have all the hard work from the entire organization end with the Championship at home in front of our amazing fans. I am thankful for the continued support from the Timbers fans and hope that we can establish a supporters group like them here in Tampa.”
Former Washington Husky Raphael Cox started on the bench but found himself thrust into the action early after defender JP Rodrigues suffered a 36th minute injury and saw the match through to extra time.
The Tacoma WA native took one of the key penalties in the shoot out scoring with conviction. He was second up only after star striker Luke Mulholland. He was jubilant but grateful for all the support he receives from home:
“This is an incredible feeling. These moments are what we train for, what we dream of. I’m so happy for my team mates, the fans and all my friends and family in Washington State who have been supporting me. I’ll be bringing my medal home on my next visit for sure!”
Cox was on the RSL roster when they won the MLS Cup in 2009, making six appearances before returning to his hometown team Tacoma Tide, and then joining Atlanta.
Daniel Scott played for the ninety minutes of the first leg and all 120 of the second where he had an outstanding showing along with Andres Arango in the centre half slots.
Scott was still feeling the physical effects last night but was yet to experience the full mental joy of being a champion once more:
“To be honest, I’m exhausted. That game was the epitome of our season, battling through adversity and never giving up. Our coaching staff, fans, organization and most importantly this team always believed we could overturn this.
Winning a title with Kitsap last year was an unbelievable feeling. This one hasn’t quite sunk in yet but as time goes on I can only imagine it will be something I will cherish forever.”
And so will Daniel Scott who has made us a promise to show his off to Prost Amerika readers on his return to Cascadia. It will look good hung on the wall next to his PDL winners medal from 2011.
FULL GALLERY FROM MATT MAY/TAMPA BAY ROWDIES