The Fort Lauderdale Strikers opened up their preseason with a 1-0 victory against Florida International University (FIU) on Thursday, March 7, at FIU Soccer Field. The game’s only goal came from a familiar face in David Santamaria, who is back with the club on trial.
In the first half, the Strikers held a majority of the possession. The side was composed with mostly trialists and few starters, but the movement and passing was free flowing. Pecka, sitting in the holding midfielder role, stood out early on in the match. The Brazilian dictated the tempo with incisive passing out to the fullbacks.
Neither side created many clear-cut chances in the first half. Darnell King had the best chance, following a through ball from Salazar, but shot straight at the FIU keeper in the one-on-one. Hosman Ramos had a pair of shots sail over the bar within a minute of each other. After the interval, both sides came out with attacking intent, looking to break the deadlock.
Substitute Kenold Versailles carved out a great chance for fellow trialist Nicholas Chase with a curled ball over the top of the defense. Chase failed to capitalize on the opportunity and sent his shot wide. Just minutes later, Chase would make up for his miss with an assist.
The breakthrough finally came in the 77th minute. On a delivery from Chase on the right flank, Santamaria—who spent the 2011 season in Fort Lauderdale—scored with a glancing header across goal. FIU pressed for an equalizer following Santamaria’s goal, but time was never on their side. The Strikers defense, entirely made of trialists, held firm to shut the Panthers out and earn victory.
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 now by calling (954)606-0400. Follow the Strikers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.