Match Recap: Strikers 1, Minnesota 3
Strikers find themselves three points back with only three games left in the Spring Season
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-0-2, 12 pts) lose 3-1 to Minnesota United FC (5-0-1, 15 pts) and fall three points behind first place with just three games remaining in the short NASL Spring Season.
The first half saw the Strikers fall behind early as the loons went ahead 1-0 on a penalty kick by Minnesota United after Darnell King was called for a handball inside the box. Simone Bracarello put the ball in past Oka Nikolov’s reach to give the home team the early lead.
An early injury to Marius Ebbers forced the Strikers to use a substitute and bring in Aly Alberto Hassan in the 9th minute. Ebbers jumped up for a ball in midfield and bumped heads with Cristiano Dias. Dias stayed in the game, but was replaced in the 29th minute after complaining that he wasn’t feeling well.
The rest of the half saw plenty of action as both teams had numerous chances but were unable to find the back of the net. The Strikers best chance came in the 44th minute as Carlos Salazar received a great cross from Hassan but put the ball just wide of the net and the Strikers went into the locker room down 1-0.
The Strikers came out of the locker room and quickly tied the match on Martin Nuñez league leading fourth goal of the season and his fourth in four games. Fafa Picault back-heeled the ball to Shawn Chin who crossed the ball to Nuñez, who didn’t miss from close range.
Christian Ramirez put the home team back on top in the 58th minute on a spectacular goal from about 30 yards out into the top right hand corner of the goal, just out of Nikolov’s reach giving the home team the 2-1 lead.
The Strikers had a chance to tie it back up as Brian Kallman received a yellow card after fouling Nuñez just outside the box, giving the Strikers a free kick in the 67th minute. Unfortunately Salazar duplicate his goal from last week and instead kicked it right into the wall.
The game took a slight turn in the 70th minute when Christian Ramirez received a ball behind the Strikers defenders and the assistant referee signaled for on offside, but the head referee didn’t see it the same, allowing the play to continue. Miguel Ibarra received a pass from Ramirez and struck the ball into the back of the net. Several Strikers players rushed the head referee in protest and the referee booked Martin Nuñez and Carlos Salazar.
Just three minutes later Nuñez fouled Daniel Mendez and received his second yellow card, resulting in an ejection. Darnell King then received a yellow as well after protesting.
Being a man down didn’t slow down the Strikers, though, as they continued to push ahead and attempt to close the gap. The Strikers had several chances late, including a shot by Hassan in the 83’ minute after receiving the ball inside the box. Hassan turned quickly and took the shot but Matt Van Oekel was able to stop it. The Strikers continued to press all the way to the end, taking several shots in the 90th minute, including a chip shot from King that hit the post and bounced out. A few minutes into extra time, Guerrero took a free kick and crossed the ball into the box where Chris Nurse headed it, but Van Oekel once again was able to stop the ball from going in.
The Strikers next travel to Tampa Bay next Saturday, May 24th, at 7:30 p.m. the Strikers final home match of the Spring will take place on May 31st against the New York Cosmos. Tickets are available by calling 954-606-0400 or visiting www.strikers.com
Match: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (FTL) at Minnesota United FC (MNU)
Competition: North American Soccer League 2014 Spring Season- Matchday 6
Venue: NSC Stadium; Blaine, MN
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET
Weather: 66° F
MNU- Simone Bracalello (penalty kick)- 12th minute
FTL- Martin Nuñez 4 (Shawn Chin 1)- 50’
MNU- Christian Ramirez (Miguel Ibarra)- 58’
MNU- Miguel Ibarra (Greg Jordan)- 70’
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-2-3-1) – 1-Oka Nikolov; 21-Darnell King, 33-Rafael Alves, 2-Stefan Antonijevic, 12-Iván Guerrero (C); 6-Chris Nurse, 14-Carlos Salazar (27-Colin Murphy, 77'); 17-Shawn Chin, 11-Fafà Picault, 9-Martin Nuñez; 19-Marius Ebbers (15-Aly Alberto Hassan, 8')
Available substitutes: 22-Lionel Brown, 23-Manny Gonzalez, 28-Ronaldo Vieira, 34-Darryl Gordon
Minnesota United FC (4-2-3-1) – 30-Matt VanOekel; 14-Brian Kallman, 5-Tiago Calvano, 3-Cristiano Dias(23-Greg Jordan, 30'), 2-Justin Davis; 4-Aaron Pitchkolan (C), 77-Juliano Vincentini; 18-Daniel Mendes, 10-Miguel Ibarra, 7-Simone Bracalello (16-Tyler Polak, 87'); 21-Christian Ramirez
Available substitutes: 1-Mitch Hildebrandt, 0-Floyd Franks, 8-Michael Reed, 12-Jamie Watson, 17-Omar Daley,
MNU Brian Kallman 65’ (Caution)
FTL Martin Nuñez 71’ (Caution)
FTL Carlos Salazar 71’ (Caution)
FTL Martin Nuñez 74’ (Ejection – Second Yellow)
FTL Darnell King 75’ (Caution)
MNU Daniel Mendez 90’ (Caution)
MNU Justin Davis 90’ (Caution)
Officials: Referee: Fotis Bazakos; Assistants: John Krill, Dan Stupca; Fourth Official: Matt Printup