U.S. defeats Martinique in quest for the Gold Cup at Raymond James Stadium

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It was a world-class event years in the making, where endless planning led to a successful night when the United States defeated Martinique in a global soccer match 3-2. 

An estimated 23,000 Tampa Bay area fans and families alike loved one thing even more than the victory – the fact the match was held here at home in a familiar spot, Raymond James Stadium.

The quest for the Gold Cup has indeed made headlines in the world of sports as 12 teams from Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean nations, compete for the global honor.

Those who live in and around the Tampa Bay area are especially excited that the international event was held in Tampa.

With the Tampa Bay Rowdies bid for Major League Soccer contention, fans are hoping that events like this will help secure that coveted spot.

Former goalkeeper, Tony Meola, from the 2002 U.S. World Cup team told News Channel 8, “The one thing we’ve seen around the league is the expansion cities where fans have been outstanding, and they’ve come out to support. The cities have really embraced the teams. I don’t expect it to be any different here in Tampa. The family friendly event turned out to be a fan favorite for parents and their children excited to see a soccer match of this magnitude.”

“I think it’s going to be great for the kids in the cities to experience an event like this,” one dad said. “It’s going to get bigger and better.”

“We come from a country where soccer is really big for us because we don’t have football or basketball. It’s awesome to see this here,” a young woman from Vietnam added.

Follow Melanie Michael on Facebook

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