The Fort Lauderdale Strikers are a little more than 48 hours away from kicking off the team's eighth season in South Florida as they host FC Edmonton at historic Lockhart Stadium for the NASL’s Opening Kick weekend on Saturday, April 6, at 7:30pm. The Strikers face FC Edmonton in the opening match for the third straight season. Fort Lauderdale are 1-1 in the previous two opening day games.
The Strikers have had an eventful off-season, returning the core of their 2012 squad including NASL Best XI players Walter Restrepo and Mark Anderson, as well as their top goalkeeper in Matt Glaeser. Fort Lauderdale have also added experience and depth to the team in the form of former Jamaican national team captain, Shavar Thomas and former Honduran International Ivan Guerrero to solidify the team's back line. On the offensive side, David Foley will add his goal-scoring touch to the Strikers. The forward was named to the 2011 NASL Best XI team while he was with the Puerto Rico Islanders.
Head Coach Daryl Shore is back for his third full season with the team, and knows this season's opener poses several new challenges for his squad.
"The fact that we play Edmonton first, for the third time in a row doesn't really affect our preparation," said Shore. "They have a revamped roster and a new coach who is going to have them ready to play and compete at a high level which we need to be prepared for."
FC Edmonton has brought in several new players to the squad helmed by first-year head coach Colin Miller. Former Strikers' defender Lance Laing is among those Edmonton added in the off-season, in addition to former Minnesota midfielder Neal Hlavaty. Saturday's match is the first of three straight games on the road to open the season for FC Edmonton.
Fort Lauderdale will travel to Atlanta and Carolina before returning to Lockhart to face the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, April 27. The Strikers have posted an exceptional record at historic Lockhart Stadium the past two seasons, losing only five out of 31 games played on their home field in the regular season and playoffs.
"Playing at home the first game is nice as we don't have to go through all the travel anxieties for the opening game," said Shore. "Our success at home the past two seasons is something we are proud of, but this is a new season and we must be ready in order to have another successful home record."
The Strikers have an all-time record of 5-2-2 against FC Edmonton including the post season and will look to continue their winning ways against the visiting Canadians.
Fort Lauderdale next travels to face Atlanta on Saturday, April 13, in what will be the Silverbacks' opening match of the season.
Fort Lauderdale opens the 2013 NASL Spring season at historic Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, April 6, against FC Edmonton. Season tickets for 2013 are on sale online at www.strikers.com or by calling (954)606-0400. Follow the Strikers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
photo by Jon Van Woerden