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Aug. 27, 1980 – Tea Men 0:1 Tampa Bay, final NASL game at Schaefer Stadium (Att.: 17,121)

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Wes McLeod’s 63rd-minute finish past Arnie Mausser, who had bobbled the initial shot, made the difference in the opener of a two-game North American Soccer League playoff series. Keita had six shots and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Ringo Cantillo (Tea Men captain) and Bob Newton four as the Tea Men outshot the Rowdies, 27-12, and had a 16-1 corner kick edge.

The Tea Men played three games before a total of 61,577 spectators from Aug. 20-27. The Tea Men had taken a 1-0 win over the Rowdies before a 25,132 crowd in the regular-season finale Aug. 22, 1980. The playoff crowd was the third largest total of the Tea Men season, their third in New England, but the Tea Men were eliminated after a 4-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Aug. 30, 1980.

On Oct. 1, 1980, the Tea Men announced an 18-game indoor season, beginning with a match against the Atlanta Chiefs at the Providence Civic Center on Sunday, Nov. 16. After a 6-3 loss to the Chiefs, on Nov. 18, the Tea Men parent organization, Lipton Company, announced the team would be moving to Jacksonville.

Company founder Thomas Lipton, who competed in the America’s Cup yacht race for 31 years, also had been involved in soccer. Lipton promoted the Copa Lipton, contested between the Argentina and Uruguay national teams from 1905-92, and the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, considered a forerunner of the World Cup, in Turin, Italy, in 1911.

According to Barry Cadigan’s story in Nov. 19, 1980 editions of The Boston Globe: “Most of the players and their wives will move from Norwood apartments provided them to Florida. Only assistant coach Dennis Viollet and trainer Joe Bourdon have homes they must dispose of and families they must move.”

Aug. 22, 1980 – Tea Men 1:0 Tampa Bay at Schaefer Stadium (Att.: 25,132)

Keita’s 88th-minute, 35-yard free kick gave the Tea Men their first win over the Rowdies.

Aug. 20, 1980 – Washington Diplomats 4:1 Tea Men at RFK Stadium (Att.: 19,324)

Johan Cruyff led the way and former North Adams State star Tony Crescitelli scored twice for the Diplomats, who attracted their largest weekday night crowd.


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