Last week, on August 7th, I went to see my beloved Napoli play against a great Barcelona team in Miami, Florida. Being a native of South Florida, once I heard that these tickets were on sale and that there was a Napoli Tifosi section, I booked my tickets almost immediately.
This was a terrific match between two very good teams. I am someone who loves to see the growth of calcio across the world, and seeing so many Napoli supporters come together and fly to Miami from places like Philadelphia, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York to name a few, just to watch a 90 minute friendly match is something truly special.
- Allan was absent for the match, he warmed up a bit before the match started but did not see any minutes. Perhaps he was feeling fatigue or had some sort of knock, but I like this decision from Ancelotti. Many players get hurt in friendly matches and risking any player, especially one of Allan’s caliber for a match that ultimately does not matter is a rookie mistake.
- Kostas Manolas is a leader on the pitch. He had a fantastic performance against Barcelona and seems as though him and Koulibaly will partner up well in the defensive line.
- Giovanni Di Lorenzo played well, but I think we can expect to see a lot better performances in the future for the Partenopei. The back line for Napoli is going to gel together very well this season.
- Dries Mertens and Arkadiusz Milik had some chances in front of goal that definitely should have been finished, but the lack of composure in front of goal is a major issue for the two of them.
I think I would like to see Mertens play on the wing like he did before his transition to striker. However, if the reports of Lozano coming to Naples are true, we will most likely not see that happen.
As for my overall experience at the match, it was fantastic. I met with a few Napoli supporter friends from Twitter, and also got to meet the guys from ItalianFootballTV, as well as the guys from FarFromVesuvius, a well known American podcast / news outlet for all things Napoli.
Unfortunately, on the count of too many beers, I did not end up taking many pictures. I was enjoying the moment so much, I could not even think to pull my phone out. (I will get better at this blogging thing). The stadium was filled with noise, over 57,000 people in attendance, cheering for their respective clubs.
But one of the best parts was being in a city that is 20 minutes from my hometown and chanting “Un giorno all’improvviso” with all of the supporters in that Napoli section. Chills.
I have been to the Stadio San Paolo for a few different matches. Perhaps this match did not excel compared to a match witnessed in Fuorigrotta, but it definitely came close.