SZNAP CHAT – MAY 18
By Adam Sznapstajler

MY SIX HOUR SOCCER EXPERIENCE

So, I had my first opportunity to cover an Inter Miami match live this past Wednesday against Montreal CF, and let me tell you it was an experience. Despite my anticipation and excitement for the match, my experience was definitely one that I was not expecting. I hope you enjoy a little rundown of my match day along with some current thoughts on the squad.

Since I live only 15 minutes away, it was a quick and easy drive to the stadium and I arrived shortly after the media gates had opened. As an avid sports media consumer I know that if there is one thing sports media enjoys, its free food, so I wanted to arrive early enough to enjoy the food on the media level. Luckily I did!

After a quick bite I had my opportunity to give a good walk around the stadium, considering I had only been to the opening match and it was too much of a frenzy to walk around. And let me tell you, that stadium is beautiful. After my walk around in the hot sun I finally had the opportunity to take my seat, in a press section which was the top rows of a stadium section and, from there, I would enjoy the match.

The first observation I had at the match is that the supporters section showed up and they were loud, continuously serenading the team. Unfortunately, this did not lead to any scoring, as the squad came out flat and quickly fell down 2-nil at half. After a quick halftime break the second half had just began when the first bolt of lightning struck.

Thus began a 2.5 hours lightning/ South Florida mini-hurricane delay. Fans were directed under the bleachers and I used this opportunity to survey the mood of the fanbase. Walking over to the Supporters section I was immediately transformed into a different world, more akin to a South American or European futbol experience. Drums were banging, people were singing, and it was just an out of this world experience that made me proud to be an American soccer fan. The video below is just a little sample of my experience by the supporter’s section during the delay.

After 2.5 hours the teams finally took the pitch to continue the remainder of the second half, which was almost the entirety. Unfortunately, the delay did not wake anything up in the squad as Inter Miami played a better second half but still lost 2-0. Once the match ended I logged onto the zoom press conference and rose my hand in anticipation of asking manager Phil Neville what I thought was a good technical question. Sadly, I was not one of the three chosen for a question but nevertheless I shall persist!

Overall, I had a wonderful experience at the match and, hopefully, the next one I attend won’t include an extra 2.5 hours between halves. Also, it seems that Inter Miami fixed a lot of the sloppiness and carelessness that plagued then in the Montreal match and beat FC Cincinnati 3-2 in an absolute thriller on Sunday.

BATTLE FOR CUBAN SANDWICH SUPREMACY GAME ONE

After an aggregate 9-1 score in two victories against the Lightning at the end of the regular season, the Panthers found themselves on the other end of the stick after Game 1 in the playoffs. In the 5-4 setback by the Lightning, the Panthers saw a plethora of questionable refereeing decisions. An early goal was disallowed and the Lightning immediately brought the puck to the other end of the ice to score. After many replays it was pretty clear that no penalty had been committed and the goal should have been allowed.

Also, a lack of whistles by the refs early on led to a tough and gritty third period that saw the Panthers get hurt on some calls that had not been made earlier in the game. When you are playing against one of the best the power play teams in the NHL, it is not good if your team is getting called disproportionately on penalties.

Most Importantly, it is time for the Panthers to sit Sergei Bobrovsky and play Chris Driedger, the better goalie. It was pretty obvious that Bobrovsky was playing at a level that is not acceptable for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Panthers need to go back to the better goalie all season, because if they don’t there might not be a season much longer.

NBA Play-In Predictions

East 7 vs 8: Washington def. Boston / East 9 vs 10: Charlotte def. Indiana / East 8 Seed Game: Boston def. Charlotte

Seeds: 7. Washington Wizards  8. Boston Celtics

West 7 vs 8: Los Angeles def Golden St / West 9 vs 10: San Antonio def. Memphis / West 8 Seed Game: Golden St def. San Antonio

Seeds: 7. Los Angeles Lakers 8. Golden State Warriors

Check out my weekly column every Tuesday.  Until then, Sayonara from South Florida!