Championship hopes are still alive as four teams are tied for second place with 14 points
FORT LAUDERDALE (October 5, 2013) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers defeated in-state rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies by a score of 2-1 in a Florida Derby match at Lockhart Stadium in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A goal on either side of halftime from Martin Nuñez and Bradlee Baladez gave the Strikers maximum points at home in front of a crowd of 3,612 at historic Lockhart Stadium.
"The first half was the best from this team of the season so far," said Strikers head coach Günter Kronsteiner. "We were very concentrated and there were a lot of chances we had to defend. Nobody expected that we could beat them."
Nuñez scored the opener in the 22nd minute of the match and Baladez grabbed the eventual winner with crisp strike from inside the 18-yard box in the 86th.
It was all one-way traffic in the first half as the Strikers peppered Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo with six shots on goal. The goalkeeper made some fine saves to keep his side in the game.
Restrepo’s goal was breached when Nuñez buried Carlos Salazar’s precision cross from the left. The ball took a slight deflection of Stefan Antonijevic but fell to Nuñez who was waiting at the back post to send the ball over the line.
Paulo Jr. had a chance to double the lead a half-hour into the match after going in alone on Diego Restrepo. The Brazilian telegraphed his shot and the goalkeeper was able to get down to his left to save.
Diego Restrepo produced his best save of the night minutes later to deny Paulo Jr. again. The Strikers forward carved out some space from the top of the box and unleashed a rocket on goal. The Venezuelan-American keeper was equal to the shot, diving to his left with an acrobatic save.
There was nothing Restrepo could do to keep out the Bradlee Baladez game-winner. A skillful dummy by Justin Chavez on a Paulo Jr. through-ball opened up space for the on-loan FC Dallas forward to finish past Restrepo, sending the home crowd into a rapturous applause.
Strikers goalkeeper Richard Sánchez was largely untested, making just two saves over the course of the match. Carl Cort scored a peach of a goal for the Rowdies to the delight of the traveling Rowdies fans, Ralph’s Mob, but it was merely a consolation for Tampa Bay.
GOAL SUMMARY –
FTL- Martin Nuñez 3 (Carlos Salazar 1)- 22
FTL- Bradlee Baladez 2 (Paulo Jr. 1)- 84
TBR- Carl Cort 2 (Frankie Sanfilippo 1)- 90’+4
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 72), Paulo Jr. (Manny Gonzalez 86); Yaikel Pérez (Bradlee Baladez 80)
Unused substitutes: Cody Laurendi, Daniel Arcila, Hosman Ramos, Aly Alberto Hassan
TAMPA BAY ROWDIES (4-3-3) – Diego Restrepo; Frankie Sanfilippo (C), Jay Needham, Takuya Yamada, Andres Arango; Keith Savage (Carl Cort 68), Shane Hill, Stuart Campbell (Jamael Cox 83); Luke Mulholland, Evans Frimpong, Lucky Mkosana
Unused substitutes: Andrew Fontein, Kyle Clinton, Raphael Cox, Thurstan Johnson
BOOKING SUMMARY –
FTL- Carlos Salazar (caution)- 70
NEXT UP – The Strikers will hit the road to finish their home-away series with the Tampa Bay Rowdies on October 12th at Al Lang Stadium. The team then returns home to face the Atlanta Silverbacks on October 19th. On that night, the first 1,500 fans age 16 and under will receive a FREE Strikers regulation size ball.
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.