photo by Jon van Woerden
Iván Guerrero had four assists on the night; Yaikel Pérez and Bradlee Baladez netted two goals each
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (October 18, 2013) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks by a score of 6-2 in front of 4,091 fans at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The game marked the first time in team history the Strikers scored six goals in a regular season match.
Defender Iván Guerrero was the star of the show after assisting on four of the Strikers goals. Yaikel Pérez and Bradlee Baladez scored two goals apiece while Martin Nuñez and Carlos Salazar each chipped in with one.
“It was an interesting game to watch and everything was exciting,” said Strikers head coach Günter Kronsteiner. “I think the other team underestimated us and we were motivated. Nobody can come to Fort Lauderdale and say they can beat this team easily.”
The first goal of the game came in the 21st minute of the match from Nuñez. After playing a give-and-go with Guerrero, the diminutive playmaker continued his run into the box to head the return cross past a helpless Eric Ati in the Silverbacks goal for his third goal in three games.
“It wasn’t a perfect game, because we gave up two goals, but our whole team demonstrated a good attitude,” said Guerrero. “In every game we need to give it our all, no matter if you’re playing for the championship or not, you’re professional players, and you need to show a winning attitude, and today we did that.”
Ruben Luna scored the equalizer in the 34th minute of the match after capitalizing on a defensive error. Milton Blanco slipped his teammate through behind the napping Strikers defense for Luna to power a shot past Richard Sánchez from close range.
Yaikel Pérez restored the host’s lead with a header shortly before halftime. The Cuban forward rose highest to meet Guerrero’s cross and power the ball into the roof of the net.
The Strikers went into the halftime break with a 2-1 lead.
The turning point in the match came early in the second half when Silverbacks defender Mike Randolph was shown a red card after taking down Paulo Jr. in the box. Carlos Salazar buried the ensuing penalty kick to double the Strikers lead.
Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes responded by emptying his substitutes bench and using all the available substitutions. The Strikers responded by scoring more goals.
Guerrero made it a hat-trick of assists when Pérez grabbed his second goal of the match shortly after the hour mark. Another pinpoint cross from the left was met by the head of Pérez at the near post, who was substituted to an ovation after the goal.
His replacement Bradlee Baladez wasted no time getting into the act, scoring two goals in a cameo appearance.
Baladez lobbed the keeper from outside the box for his first of the night before sweeping a counter-attacking move from the left across the keeper for his brace.
The scoreline could have been even larger as both sides had wasted opportunities.
Earlier in the match Pérez dazzled fans with an overhead kick in the 19th minute. Walter Restrepo tried something similar when the Strikers were up 5-1.
Richard Sánchez was largely untested but was forced to came up with a trademark save to deny Atlanta from going ahead. Blanco hammered a volley from the top of the box that was destined for the bottom right corner but for the left hand of Sánchez that parried the effort wide.
The Silverbacks scored a penalty kick late in the second half but it was nothing more than a consolation.
GOAL SUMMARY –
FTL- Martin Nuñez 5 (Iván Guerrero 3)- 20’
ATL- Ruben Luna (Milton Blanco)- 34’
FTL- Yaikel Pérez 2 (Iván Guerrero 4)- 41’
FTL- Carlos Salazar 2 (penalty)- 53’
FTL- Yaikel Pérez 3 (Iván Guerrero 5)- 63’
FTL- Bradlee Baladez 3 (Rafael Alves 1)- 67’
FTL- Bradlee Baladez 4 (Iván Guerrero 6)- 83’
ATL- Pedro Mendes (penalty)- 86’
FORT LAUDERDALE (4-1-4-1) – Richard Sánchez; Darnell King, Rafael Alves, Stefan Antonijevic, Iván Guerrero; Pecka (C); Walter Restrepo, Martin Nuñez, Carlos Salazar (Justin Chavez 70), Paulo Jr. (Gonzalo De Mujica 77); Yaikel Pérez (Bradlee Baladez 64)
Unused substitutes: Cody Laurendi, Hosman Ramos, Manny Gonzalez, Aly Alberto Hassan
ATLANTA SILVERBACKS (4-2-3-1) – Eric Ati; Mike Randolph, Martyn Lancaster (C) (Danny Barrera 58), Beto Navarro, Shane Moroney; Milton Blanco, Richie Menjivar; Pablo Cruz (Willie Hunt 58), Pedro Mendes, Alex Caceres (Horace James 58); Ruben Luna
Unused substitutes: Joe Nasco, Kellen Gulley
BOOKING SUMMARY –
ATL- Pablo Cruz (caution)- 23’
FTL- Walter Restrepo (caution)- 45’
ATL- Mike Randolph (ejection)- 51’
ATL- Richie Menjivar (caution)- 53’
ATL- Milton Blanco (caution)- 75’
NEXT UP – The Strikers will take on Minnesota United FC on Saturday October 26 at 7PM. The team then will close out the 2013 Fall Season at home when they take on FC Edmonton during Fan Appreciation Night.
Season Tickets for the 2014 Season are on sale, with big discounts if purchased before November 2nd. Call 954-606-0400 to purchase season tickets.
Tickets for all upcoming home games are available for purchase online at www.strikers.com, or by calling 954-606-0400. Call or visit www.strikers.com for more information. Follow the Strikers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram