By Steven Bernasconi
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers defeated the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic team by a score of 2-1 at Fort Lauderdale Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
Returning Strikers and new signings were given starts by head coach Daryl Shore.
The Strikers proved the more dangerous side the early stages of the match. Just 10 minutes in, Lance Laing nearly reproduced the freekick he scored last week against Old Dominion University. This time the Jamaican’s shot was narrowly deflected wide.
Minutes later Andy Herron would get his first of several chances. Miscommunication between the opposition’s goalkeeper and defense created a turnover at the edge of the penalty area for Herron who was left alone with the keeper. The Costa Rican forward didn’t fully capitalize on the opportunity to put the Strikers ahead, as his shot was easily saved by the keeper.
Team captain Abe Thompson limped off the field in the 24th minute. His replacement was Aly Hassan, a trialist who has already found the net twice this preseason.
In the 33rd minute the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic side had a great chance to score first. A lapse in concentration from the dependable Toni Ståhl left the other team’s forward with plenty of space ahead of just Matt Glaeser. The Strikers’ goalkeeper made himself large enough to put off the opposition’s forward; his lobbed shot went just wide of his goal.
The Strikers scored five minutes later when Andy Herron was taken down in the box after rounding the keeper. The 34 year-old sent the keeper the wrong way on the penalty kick to put the Strikers deservedly ahead going into the break.
As is custom in preseason games, coach Shore made several changes at the interval.
Jack Stewart and Alfonso Motagalvan were replaced by defenders Nicardo Blake and Emilio Orozco. Center back Conor Shanosky stepped into a defensive midfield role, and Pat Otte came on for the dynamic Walter Restrepo.
Trinidad and Tobago started the second half the brighter side. Within minutes they drew a foul on the edge of the box and had a legitimate penalty appeal turned down by the referee. The team was pressing hard for an equalizer.
The equalizer would come in the 51st minute. A freekick was whipped in from the right and was met by the head of a Trinidadian player. Matt Glaeser was helpless in goal as the header flew past him and into the net.
Glaeser would come up huge just two minutes later though. A Trinidad and Tobago player sprinted around defender Emilio Orozco on the edge of the touchline to find himself alone with the Strikers’ goalkeeper. Diving to the ground, Glaeser met the near post shot with his big hands to parry the ball away.
Glaeser would be replaced by David Martin in the 70th minute. The goalkeeper spent last season with the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves, and has spent preseason with the Strikers after impressing during an open tryout.
Defender Toni Ståhl was sent off in the 78th minute, leaving the Strikers short-handed.
A man down, the Strikers showed great resilience and put up a fight. Their reward would come in the 88th minute when Andy Herron scored his second goal of the match, slipping the ball around the Trinidad and Tobago goalkeeper following a through ball from strike partner Aly Hassan. The match finished shortly after, 2-1 in the Strikers’ favor.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers remain unbeaten thus far in preseason matches. The Strikers’ next test will be against the Canada men’s national under-23 soccer team on Sunday. Kickoff time for the match—which is free and open to the public— is 3:00 P.M. at Kics Sports Complex in Sunrise.
Strikers fans are also invited to attend the team's 2012 Uniform Unveiling party at Duffy's in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, March 15th at 6:30p.m. Be the first to see and own the all new team uniforms. The Strikers players in attendance will also be doing a Q&A session for the fans. Come out and support the Strikers.