Fort Lauderdale Strikers Earn Tie vs. NSC Stars

The fans came out in full force on Friday night for a game at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, the second match of the season for the Strikers, who hosted the NSC Stars of Minnesota.  The team lost it’s home opener 2-1 last week and was looking to bounce back this week.  The Strikers had many chances early in the first half, with NSC goalkeeper Joe Warren making a spectacular diving save off of a dead ball from about 30 yards out that was headed for the upper 90.  Other chances were had by the Strikers but the half-time score remained 0-0.

Fort Lauderdale Strikes Football Club

Fort Lauderdale Strikes Football Club

Nearly 4,500 fans showed up for the game, and after a strong showing in the opener last week the team appears to have a strong local following.  With a diverse crowd creating chants, banging drums, and taking advantage of the plethora of international cuisine offered, the Strikers had a distinct home field advantage behind it’s growing fan base.

The second half provided for more action, starting with NSC’s goal from a dead ball by Andrei Gotsmanov, who hails from a soccer rich family with deep roots in the Minnesota and international professional soccer scene.  Gotsmanov placed a perfect chip into the box from about 45 yards out onto the head of a teammate who headed the ball into the goal.  The player was unmarked in what appeared to be a confused Strikers defense.

Applying pressure for most of the second half, the Strikers were never out of the game and from my point of view they had many more chances than NSC, yet trailed late into the game.  However, luck caught the Strikers at the proper time – in the games waning minutes, they earned a penalty kick, which Eduardo Coudet converted by slicing a hard shot out of the reach of the diving Joe Warren.

The game was far from over, however.  In the extra time the Strikers earned a corner kick and had multiple chances on goal and almost completed the come from behind win.  Instead they earned an impressive draw, showing a lot of heart coming back from a deficit against one of the better goalkeepers they will see all year in Warren.

The next Striker home game is at Atlanta on April 23.  The Striker’s current record is 0-1-1.

first of the season at the Atlanta Silverbacks in their next game on April 23.

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The Stars (1-0-1) broke a scoreless tie in the 61st minute when a free kick by Andrei Gotsmanov found Devin del Do for the header from outside the far left post. It would have been Gotsmanov’s second straight game winning assist if not for Coudet’s tying goal.

If the Strikers had to be graded on their first half performance in compared to last weeks season opener home loss to Edmonton, consider it a vast improvement. The Strikers could have easily had two goals, if not for big save from Stars keeper Joe Warren.

The Strikers were patient, maybe too patient, to push forward in the early going of the half. Able to push the ball down the wings without much resistance by the Minnesota defense, the Strikers began creating chances.

The first build up nearly resulted in a penalty kick, but the foul called against Stars defense John Gilkerson on Aaron Wheeler came within a yard of the penalty box. The free kick by Eduardo Coudet was save just inside the left post by Warren.

In the final third of the half, the Strikers maintained possession producing two more opportunities. The first a centering pass deep through the box by Martin Nunez, but no one was home to get a foot on it. The other by Wheeler from just outside 18 yards went so close to right post.