Match Recap: Strikers 2, Scorpions 0
Photo credit- Rosa Cavalcanti
Match: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (FTL) v. San Antonio Scorpions (SAS)
Competition: 2014 NASL Fall Season- Match 9
Venue: Lockhart Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, FL
Kickoff: Friday, August 29, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Strikers Earn Shutout Victory Against First-Place Scorpions at Lockhart
Goals from Fafà Picault and Mark Anderson move the Strikers up to fourth in the NASL Fall Season Standings
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Friday, August 29, 2014) – The Strikers claimed victory over the first-place San Antonio Scorpions in a dramatic 2-0 spectacle Friday night at Lockhart Stadium. Fafà Picault’s eighth goal of the year gave the Strikers a first-half lead, while a second-half free kick strike from Mark Anderson ensured the win.
"The team really played an unbelievably good game today," said Strikers Head Coach Günter Kronsteiner. "San Antonio is really a tough team to play, but we did a great job against them. We didn’t allow them too many opportunities. It was a very well deserved win."
The Strikers dominated the early proceedings of the match, largely in part to a change of formation by Coach Kronsteiner. Boosted by the return of several players from injury and suspension, the Austrian tactician fielded a strong attacking side in a classic 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation.
"I made some changes in our midfield and it worked, it opened it much more," added Kronsteiner.
Led by the attacking trio of Jenison Brito, Fafà Picault, and Aly Alberto Hassan, the Strikers forced Scorpions goalkeeper Josh Saunders into seven saves in the first 45 minutes of action. He made 11 saves on the night.
Saunders’ goal was finally breached just minutes before halftime. Former Scorpion Walter Ramirez played Fafà Picault through on goal with just a defender and the goalkeeper to beat. A deft touch allowed Picault to skip around defender Greg Janicki before sending a low shot off the post and into the back of the net to open the scoring.
Tensions turned high as both teams looked to score the next goal. A red card shown to Hassan in the 64th minute of the match reduced the Strikers to ten men for the closing stages. A total of 10 bookings were handed out over the course of the match.
Despite the man disadvantage, the Strikers added an insurance goal to make it 2-0. Substitute Mark Anderson scored his fourth goal of the year just minutes after entering the match by firing a free kick past Saunders to double the lead.
Picault had two chances to score his first brace for the Strikers deep into injury time. Saunders came up big to deny the initial effort and the follow-up rebound.
FTL- Fafà Picault 8 (Walter Ramirez 1)- 43rd minute
FTL- Mark Anderson 4 (unassisted)- 79’
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-4-2) – Kamil Contofalsky; Darnell King, Rafael Alves, Stefan Antonijevic, Iván Guerrero (C); Pecka, Shawn Chin (Martin Nuñez, 65), Walter Ramirez (Mark Anderson, 75), Jenison Brito (Chris Nurse, 70); Fafà Picault, Aly Alberto Hassan
Subs not used: David Meves, Gonzalo De Mujica, Manny Gonzalez, Ronaldo Vieira
San Antonio Scorpions (4-4-2) – Josh Saunders; Jonathan Borrajo, Greg Janicki, Julius James, Stephen DeRoux; Walter Restrepo, Richie Menjivar (Josue Soto, 61), Rafael Castillo, Billy Forbes (Ryan Guy, 87); Tomasz Zahorski (Trevin Caesar, 80), Cesar Elizondo
Subs not used: Jeremy Vuolo, Julio Garcia
FTL- Fafà Picault (caution)- 11th minute
SAS- Billy Forbes (caution)- 14'
FTL- Rafael Alves (caution)- 23'
SAS- Walter Restrepo (caution)- 45'
FTL- Aly Alberto Hassan (ejection)- 64'
FTL- Pecka (caution)- 68'
SAS- Greg Janicki (caution)- 74'
SAS- Jonathan Borrajo (caution)- 86'
FTL- Mark Anderson (caution)- 90+1'
SAS- Cesar Elizondo (caution)- 90+2'
Referee: Fotis Bazakos; Assistants: Randy Cook, Felix Carranza; Fourth: Andres Pfefferkorn