Preseason Recap: Strikers v. FIU
Match: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (FTL) vs. Florida International University (FIU)
Competition: Preseason Friendly
Venue: Lockhart Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET; closed-door
Weather: 78 degrees, clear
FTL- Darnell King (unassisted) – 10th
FTL- Marius Ebbers (Martin Nuñez)- 17th
FTL- Carlos Salazar (penalty kick)- 23rd
FTL- Marius Ebbers (Carlos Salazar)- 43rd
FTL- Martin Nuñez (penalty kick)- 50th
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Lineup (4-2-3-1) – Oka Nikolov (Lionel Brown 74); Darnell King (Matt Hall 46), Rafael Alves (Mitchell Lopez 63), Stefan Antonijevic (Justin Chavez 46), Iván Guerrero (Gonzalo De Mujica 63); Chris Nurse (Ronaldo Vieira 46), Carlos Salazar (Manny Gonzalez 63); Shawn Chin (Fafà Picault 46), Mark Anderson (Colin Murphy 63), Martin Nuñez (Aly Alberto Hassan 63); Marius Ebbers (Yaikel Perez 63)
Fort Lauderdale, Fla – The Strikers cruised to a 5-2 victory over the FIU Golden Panthers on Saturday night in the final preseason match before the 2014 NASL season kicks off on Saturday, April 12 at Lockhart.
It was a game of two halves with six of the seven goals coming in the first 45 minutes. An opportunistic finish from Darnell King, a pair of headers from Marius Ebbers, and penalty kick goals from Carlos Salazar and Martin Nuñez rounded out the scoring for the Strikers.
Just ten minutes into the match King capitalized on a loose ball in the box following a set piece to give the Strikers an early lead. FIU responded with an equalizer six minutes later, but the score-line was short-lived.
Ebbers restored the Strikers lead within a minute of the FIU goal. Nuñez crossed the ball into the box from the left for the unmarked Ebbers to power a header into the back of the net.
The Strikers were awarded a penalty kick in the 23rd minute of the match after Nuñez was taken down from behind, inside the box. Set-piece specialist Carlos Salazar stepped up to the spot to score the Strikers’ third goal of the night.
The Golden Panthers clawed a second goal back late in the first half, but Ebbers responded just minutes later with his second header goal of the game. This time it was Salazar’s in-swinging ball from the right that was redirected by the big German forward into the far corner of the goal to give the Strikers a 4-2 lead going into the halftime interval.
With a comfortable lead in hand, coach Günter Kronsteiner used the second half to experiment, testing out players in unfamiliar positions in a 4-4-2 lineup.
The only goal of the half came from a penalty kick. Following an intentional handball in the box, the Strikers were awarded their second spot kick of the night, which Nuñez tucked away with aplomb.
The Strikers will play a 30-minute intrasquad scrimmage at tomorrow night’s VIP Kickoff Party at 7:30 p.m. The party is by invitation only (check your email, season ticket holders are invited!)
At the party will be the Strikers 2014 uniform unveiling, presentation of the Striker Girls Dance Team, an on-field kick-around, as well as free food and drink provided for all attendees. (We encourage you to bring sneakers and a soccer ball for the kick-around and player autographs!)