7,653 fans, a Strikers record, came to Lockhart Stadium to watch the return of the classic rivalry
FORT LAUDERDALE – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers had a five-game unbeaten streak snapped up by The New York Cosmos after falling 2-0 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
A club-record 7,653 fans filled the stadium to witness the first match between the sides in South Florida since May 4, 1983. This marks the highest attendance for the Strikers since their rebirth in 2011.
The match did not go according to script for the hosts, who had an opportunity to go to the top of the standings with a win. Cosmos attacker Diomar Díaz put in a man-of-the-match performance for the visitors, scoring both goals in the 2-0 Cosmos victory.
“We weren’t aggressive enough in the first half,” said Strikers assistant coach Raoul Voss. “If you give this team too much space, they’ll punish you.”
Just ten minutes into the match Díaz opened the scoring after heading past Richard Sánchez in the Strikers goal. The Venezuelan got a brace after capitalizing on a defensive error by the Strikers.
Cosmos left back Ayoze provided a pinpoint cross for the first goal. His ball from the left found the head of the unmarked Díaz alone in the six-yard box. The second goal was scored on a rebound after Sánchez had done well to save an initial shot by Stefan Dimitrov, but was out of position for the second attempt.
It went from bad to worse for the Strikers after going a goal down. Stéphane Guillaume was injured in a challenge with Marcos Senna and had to be stretchered off the field in the 21st minute.
Fort Lauderdale looked to have pulled a goal back in the 67th minute of the match when a through ball slipped Carlos Salazar behind the Cosmos defense to beat Reynish with a chipped effort. The assistant referee had his flag raised and the goal did not stand.
The hosts threw everything at the Cosmos in the second half, forcing Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Renish into a series of fine saves, but the breakthrough never came.
GOAL SUMMARY –
NYC- Diomar Díaz 2 (Ayoze 2) – 10
NYC- Diomar Díaz 3 (unassisted) - 33
FORT LAUDERDALE (4-4-1-1) – Richard Sánchez; Stéphane Guillaume (Carlos Salazar 21), Rafael Alves, Stefan Antonijevic (Hosman Ramos 75), Iván Guerrero; Darnell King, Pecka (C), Toni Ståhl, Paulo Jr. (Bradlee Baladez 60); Martin Nuñez; Yaikel Pérez
Available substitutes: Lionel Brown, Justin Chavez, Gonzalo De Mujica, Manny Gonzalez
NEW YORK COSMOS (4-2-3-1) – Kyle Reynish; Hunter Gorskie, Carlos Mendes (C), Rovérsio, Ayoze; Marcos Senna, Danny Szetela; Paulo Mendes (Joseph Nane 80), Diomar Díaz (Hagop Chirishian 75), Sebastian Guenzatti; Stefan Dimitrov
Available substitutes: Scott Angevine, Peri Marošević, Korey Veeder, Henry Lopez, Chris Rodd
BOOKING SUMMARY –
FTL- Toni Ståhl (caution)- 24; Paulo Jr. (caution)- 54; Yaikel Pérez (caution)- 69; Martin Nuñez (caution)- 90
NYC- Marcos Senna (caution)- 35; Sebastian Guenzatti (caution)- 73; Ayoze (caution)- 77; Sebastian Guenzatti (second caution; ejection)- 90’+1
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Players bond over the importance of the Strikers in their lives
Fort Lauderdale, FL (September 20, 2013) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers hosted a successful Town Hall Meeting, Thursday night at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus in Fort Lauderdale. Fans gathered with current and former Strikers players and staff, NASL leadership and two South Florida mayors for a night celebrating the past, present and future of South Florida’s pro soccer team.
Mayors Jim Seiler, Fort Lauderdale, and Mike Ryan, Sunrise, started things off with a discussion about importance of the Strikers in their communities and answered a variety of questions about possible stadium development. Both cities have been rumored as possible locations for the new Strikers-specific stadium. The Mayors are showing their support by promoting the Beach to Glades Challenge to see which city can sell the most tickets to the upcoming Strikers vs Cosmos match, with the winner taking home the Mayors Cup.
North American Soccer League (NASL) Commissioner Bill Peterson and Traffic Sports USA President and Chairman of the NASL Aaron Davidson followed, discussing the early success and growth of the league and the commitment to the Strikers.
“It’s humbling to be here tonight and see this many people come out,” said Davidson. “It’s great to see the faces that have been with us since the early days, and to see the guys from the original Strikers. We are so fortunate to have that legacy with us, and not just the legacy, people who are active in the community in support of what we’re doing.”
The Strikers charismatic President Tom Mulroy shared stores of his playing days and discussed the importance of the club’s community outreach and grassroots approach to promoting the brand.
Head Coach Günter Kronsteiner took the stage to a rapturous applause and chants of his name from the supporters in attendance. The captivating coach further endeared himself to the fans by giving his take on the sending off in Edmonton and the state of his team, which currently sit just one point out of first with a chance to go top of the standings this weekend.
“We are doing very well and I hope we can make you proud this weekend,” said Kronsteiner when asked about the preparation for the Cosmos game. “I’m not preparing the team in a different way; we are as good as the Cosmos, there’s no question from me.”
Current players Stefan Antonijevic, David Foley, Darnell King and Richard Sanchez were also on hand to answer questions from the fans. The four players shared stories about what it means for them to play for the Strikers, their efforts in the community and the importance of being good role models to young players.
Saving the best for last, the Strikers legends took the stage to discuss the great tradition of the Strikers and share their fondest memories of the team. Ron Newman, the original head coach of the Strikers in 1977, led the group of greats that included U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame goalkeeper Arnie Mausser, Branko Segota, Nico Bodonczy and a name endeared to all South Florida soccer fans, Ray Hudson.
Hudson was the man of the hour, stealing the show and captivating the entire audience with his passion and enthusiasm for the Strikers.
“I’d be here all night with you people in the memory of our Strikers and about the advent of the Strikers,” said Hudson. “And Tom [Mulroy], Aaron [Davidson] and Traffic, Tim [Robbie] and the lads here and coach Günter [Kronsteiner], they’re doing a wonderful job.”
If you missed it, click on the video above to watch what Ray Hudson had to say!
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