Match Recap: Strikers 0, Minnesota 3
Photo credit- Jon van Woerden
Match: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (FTL) v. Minnesota United FC (MNU)
Competition: 2014 NASL Fall Season- Matchday 1
Venue: Lockhart Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 86°F, cloudy
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla (Saturday, July 12, 2014) – The Strikers tasted defeat in the opening match of the Fall season, falling to Spring champions Minnesota United FC by a score of 3-0 at historic Lockhart Stadium. Goals from Daniel Mendes, Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra gave the visitors all three points.
Fort Lauderdale and Minnesota traded chances in the early stages. The Strikers threatened the Minnesota goal in the 13th minute of the match. Martin Nuñez was put through on goal but was closed down by Mitch Hildebrandt. The rebound was struck toward goal by Mark Anderson but a goal-line clearance denied the Englishman the go-ahead goal.
Minnesota took the lead from a corner kick midway through the first half. Justin Davis sent in a goal-bound in-swinging ball to the near post that Kamil Contofalsky could only parry off the line. Mendes was there to tap the rebound into the net to put the visitors in front 1-0.
Heroics from Hildebrant kept the Strikers from equalizing in the 35th minute. The keeper first closed down Nuñez in a one-on-one situation before making a huge double save on efforts from Jenison Brito and Shawn Chin.
Minnesota came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, striking the crossbar twice in the 51st minute. Another in-swinging corner from the left was headed off the bar by Mendes. The Strikers couldn’t clear and just seconds later a cracking Christian Ramirez shot cannoned off the bar.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 59th minute through Ramirez. Justin Davis tore down the left-hand side and sent in a low ball across the six yard box. Minnesota’s goal and assist leader Ramirez was at the back post to turn the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
Anderson and Jenison Brito had opportunities to score for the Strikers but neither could keep their efforts on target. Second-half substitute Aly Alberto Hassan also struck the post. The impressive Hildebrandt was forced into more key saves. The United FC keeper came up with a total of five on the night.
Miguel Ibarra crushed any hope of a Strikers comeback in the 78th minute, capitalizing on a defensive error by Rafael Alves to put Minnesota up 3-0. The Brazilian defender attempted a clearance but played the ball right into the chest of the United FC attacker. Ibarra rounded Contofalsky and calmly tucked the ball into the open net to secure victory for Minnesota.
MNU- Daniel Mendes (unassisted)- 23rd minute
MNU- Christian Ramirez (Justin Davis)- 59’
MNU- Miguel Ibarra (unassisted)- 78’
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-2-3-1) – Kamil Contofalsky; Darnell King, Rafael Alves, Stefan Antonijevic, Ivan Guerrero (C); Manny Gonzalez (Ronaldo Vieira, 73), Justin Chavez; Shawn Chin (Darryl Gordon, 64), Mark Anderson, Martin Nuñez; Jenison Brito (Aly Alberto Hassan, 64)
Unused substitutes: David Meves, Mitchell Lopez, Colin Murphy
Minnesota United FC (4-2-3-1) – Mitch Hildebrandt; Kevin Venegas, Tiago Calvano, Cristiano Dias, Justin Davis; Aaron Pitchkolan (C), Juliano Vicentini; Jamie Watson (Tyler Polak, 85), Miguel Ibarra (Brian Kallman, 86), Daniel Mendes (Omar Daley, 81); Christian Ramirez
Unused substitutes: Matt VanOekel, Floyd Franks, Michael Reed, Brent Kallman
MNU- Aaron Pitchkolan (caution)- 36th minute
FTL- Mark Anderson (caution)- 36’
FTL- Darryl Gordon (caution)- 81’