They're the NASL's version of Peyton Manning and Jimmy Graham. The other football's MVP and scoring leader. The Rowdies have them both this season.
Georgi Hristov returns as the league's MVP and Brian Shriver, who went to Clearwater High School, comes home with the league's scoring title, giving the Rowdies a dominant one-two kick.
"Obviously, to see how Georgi played last year," said Shriver. "He scored a lot of goals, had a lot of assists. For me, it's exciting to hopefully partner with him and see what we can contribute."
"When you train with better players, good players like Brian, you have to push more and more," Hristov said. "You have to prove yourself. The competition always makes players better."
The Rowdies believe having the two top offensive players in the league on the same field and on the same team is going to be a winning combination. The key for it to click is going to be chemistry.
"The problem with that being is that it's not a secret anymore," said head coach Ricky Hill. "Everyone else in the league will know how good Georgi... how good Brian are. It's now up to us to get that chemistry. As individuals coming from different situations, different teams. It may take a little time to get cohesion."
For Shriver, this year's target isn't about defending last year's individual accomplishment. It's about team success.
"It's not about scoring the most goals in the league," Shriver said. "It's about bringing a championship to Tampa, and that's what I think I'm most focused on. However I can contribute, whether it's goals, assists, hard work on the field, I'm willing to do that."
Shriver and Hristov are positioned to lead the team, but for the Rowdies to win the Cup like they did two seasons ago, it's going to take more than two players to do it.
"They are a 23-man squad, everyone is as important as the next guy," Hill said. "Whether Georgi has the MVP or not, or someone has very limited minutes. That one that has those limited minutes are very much a part of the group. I have to commend the players for their team spirit."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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