Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Raucous fans, smoke bombs disrupt Rowdies match against Orlando

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crews responded Sunday to Al Lang Stadium after smoke bombs were set off.

Bay News 9

St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crews responded Sunday to Al Lang Stadium after smoke bombs were set off.

ST. PETERSBURG — Four men were arrested, 16 fans were ejected and smoke bombs were set off Sunday at a particularly raucous Tampa Bay Rowdies game.

The club blamed members of a group of Orlando City Soccer Club fans who arrived at Al Lang Stadium before the 6:30 p.m. game.

In a statement released on the club's Facebook page Monday, Rowdies owner Bill Edwards said local fans were intentionally moved away from Orlando fans and additional security guards and police officers were called in to monitor the situation.

"Despite these measures, certain members of the Orlando City SC supporters group engaged in disorderly behavior beyond acceptable limits," Edwards said in a statement.

Stadium staff put up bike racks between the groups in an effort to separate them, police spokesman Mike Puetz said. But as they tried to eject some fans who were trying to start fights, police met with resistance, Puetz said

Stephen Marva, 24, of Deltona was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. Puetz said he shoved an officer out of the way while trying to start a fight. Charles Tolman, 30, of Orlando was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer. Puetz said he was trying to wave a flag in the opposing team's section and struck a police officer with the flag's pole when he was asked to stop.

Jimmy Galvez, 28, of Orlando was charged with disorderly intoxication. Police asked him to leave three times, Puetz said, but he sneaked back in after pretending to leave. Jared Ambrose, 24, of Clermont refused to move out of the way of officers and was charged with disorderly intoxication as well, Puetz said.

A widely circulated photo also showed what looks like a fire in the stands. Fire spokesman Lt. Steve Lawrence said a smoke bomb canister was set off during the game. No fire was reported, Lawrence said, and no one was injured. While smoke bombs are allowed at games, explosive fireworks are not.

Sunday's game was the second leg of the "I-4 Derby," a sort of cross-state rivalry except they're exhibition games — Orlando is in USL Pro, a league below the Rowdies' NASL. Orlando won the first leg of the derby at home, and on its website, the club invited fans to travel to St. Petersburg for the second leg.

"Entering hostile enemy territory to chant and sing for 90 minutes is an exhilarating experience, particularly with a chance to humiliate a local rival on the line," the club's website reads.

Soccer fans are notoriously enthusiastic, but Edwards praised Rowdies fans, particularly the team's independent fan club "Ralph's Mob," and said they work to foster a family environment.

"I hope that Orlando City SC can get control of this problem, and I look forward to meeting them once again when they do," Edwards' statement said.

Orlando City beat the Rowdies 3-2 to claim the I-4 Derby title.

Claire Wiseman can be reached at cwiseman@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8804. Follow @clairelwiseman on Twitter.

Raucous fans, smoke bombs disrupt Rowdies match against Orlando 07/07/14 [Last modified: Monday, July 7, 2014 10:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump's new order bars almost all travel from seven countries

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday issued a new order banning almost all travel to the United States from seven countries, including most of the nations covered by his original travel ban, citing threats to national security posed by letting their citizens into the country.

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters Sunday upon his return to the White House in Washington.
  2. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  3. In Mexico City, hopes of finding quake survivors dwindle

    World

    MEXICO CITY — Five days after the deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake, the hulking wreckage of what used to be a seven-story office building is one of the last hopes: one of just two sites left where searchers believe they may still find someone trapped alive in Mexico City.

    Rescue workers search for survivors inside a felled office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood of Mexico City on Saturday.
  4. GOP health bill in major peril as resistance hardens among key senators

    National

    WASHINGTON — The floundering Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act met hardening resistance from key GOP senators Sunday that left it on the verge of collapse even as advocates vowed to keep pushing for a vote this week.

    Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, said Sunday that it was “very difficult” to envision voting for this health-care bill.
  5. Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

    World

    BAGHDAD — Iraq's central government in Baghdad ordered the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum on support for independence.

    Iraqi Kurds climb the fence into a soccer stadium during a rally in Irbil, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, on Friday. Kurds will vote in a referendum today on the creation of their own country.