Strikers to take on seemingly unbeatable RailHawks in North Carolina on Saturday
The match at Carolina will be the NASL ‘Match of the Week’ live on ESPN3; Pecka returns from Brazil
Fort Lauderdale, FL (April 16, 2014) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will travel to Cary, North Carolina tomorrow to take on the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park this Saturday night at 7:30 PM. The RailHawks carry a 16 game unbeaten streak at home (14 W - 2 T) and will look to extend that streak against the Strikers. The Strikers and RailHawks have faced each other 13 times since 2011, with both teams failing to find a win at their opponent’s home field. The Strikers have won five and drawn once at Lockhart Stadium and lost five games and drawn twice in Cary, NC.
The Strikers are coming off a 2-0 win against the Ottawa Fury FC on April 12th at Lockhart Stadium. The team led for majority of the match on an early goal from Rafael Alves before Darnell King ensured the Strikers claimed all three points with a late strike in the second half.
Coach Kronsteiner- “First of all, this will be a real challenge for us. Carolina hasn’t lost a game at home in a long time. To have such a long streak is amazing; they have all my respect. But we’re in good shape. We keep getting better and better. This game will be a good measure of where we are at this point.”
The game will be the North American Soccer League 'Match of the Week' that will be broadcast live on ESPN3. ESPN's live multi-screen sports network is accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Season stats- Goals: Rafael Alves, Darnell King (1); Assists: Mark Anderson (1)
Profiling Carolina RailHawks
The RailHawks opened up the 2014 season on the road in front of a crowd of 11,048 in Indianapolis as expansion side Indy Eleven took the field for their first-ever match. The hosts took the lead through Mike Ambersley shortly before halftime before the RailHawks found an equalizer through Zack Schilawski after the interval.
Carolina lined up in 4-2-3-1 formation in Indy, the same formation that Strikers deployed on Saturday. RailHawks captain Jun Marques Davidson is one of the most accurate passers in the league and together with his partner Nick Millington marshal the midfield. The Strikers midfielders may be forced to concede possession to the pair.
In right winger Tiyi Shipalane the RailHawks boast one of the league’s best one-on-one dribblers. Strikers captain Iván Guerrero will have his work cut out for him trying to keep Shipalane quiet.
Pecka, who had been on loan with Madureira Esporte Clube in Brazil, returned to Fort Lauderdale on Monday, April 14th and has been practicing with the team. He will travel to North Carolina for the match.
Madureira Esporte Clube plays in the Série A state tournament in Rio de Janeiro, Campeonato Carioca. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious futbol tournaments in Brazil, featuring teams such as Fluminense, Vasco de Gama, Flamengo and more.
NASL Team of the Week 1
Solid defensive performances by both Darnell King and Justin Chavez earned them selection in the NASL Team of the Week for the first week of the 2014 Spring Season. Chavez was solid at midfield for the first half and then dropped to the back line in the second half when Rafael Alves had to come out due to injury.
King had a strong defensive match, helping to keep visiting team Ottawa out of the net. He then added a goal in the 80th minute, all but assuring the win for the home team.
Stéphane Guillaume (knee injury) is expected to be out until the Fall season.
Rafael Alves is a doubt after being forced off through injury at halftime of the season opener.
Pecka is back in Fort Lauderdale and available for selection following the conclusion of his loan spell with Madureira in Brazil.
Referee- Mark Kadlecik; Assistant Referees- Mark Buda, Jude Carr; Fourth Official- Aaron Gallagher
Players to watch
13 – Justin Chavez – Chavez had a solid match in the home opener vs Ottawa Fury FC. Chavez started at midfield and then moved to the back line when Rafael Alves had to leave the game due to an injury to his calf. He was key in helping the Strikers preserve the shutout.
20 – Mark Anderson – Anderson had the assist on Rafael Alves goal in the 13th minute in the 2-0 win vs Ottawa. Anderson, who was injured for a majority of 2013, has been solid in the pre-season and looks to be a key part of the Strikers attack.
FTL vs Carolina Overall 5W-3T-5L
FTL at Carolina 0-2-5
2013 vs Carolina: 1-1-2
The Strikers return to Lockhart Stadium to take on another of the NASL’s newest team, Indy Eleven on Saturday April 26th at 7:30PM.