Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers started the game quickly and within the first six minutes created three chances. Just seconds after the kickoff Jenison Brito forced Matt Pickens into a save. Picault and Martin Nuñez had opportunities from the edge of the box but flashed their efforts wide.

Attacking at will, the Strikers sent long balls over the top to utilize the pace of Picault. Overlapping runs from right back Darnell King continued to get the better of Anthony Wallace all game. Fort Lauderdale took a total of 20 shots on the night.

Pickens made six saves on the night, including two impressive diving stops on Picault in the first and second half.

Against the run of play, the Rowdies should have taken the lead in the 43rd minute when Blake Wagner missed an open net. A low cross from the right bypassed the Strikers defense and keeper Kamil Contofalsky, but Wagner, alone in space, squandered the easy opportunity wide.

A move started by goalkeeper Contofalsky nearly resulted in a goal for the Strikers shortly after the second-half restart. A long clearance wasn’t dealt with by the Rowdies defense, leading to an exchange between Brito and Nuñez. The space created left Anderson with a clear strike from the top of the 18 yard box that struck defender Tamika Mkandawire and trickled just wide of the post.

More heroics from Pickens came in the 66th minute to deny Brito a headed goal. The Brazilian forward connected on a cross from a King but Pickens was equal to the header.

The breakthrough finally came in the 72nd minute through Picault. The speedy forward anticipated a rebound after an effort from Nuñez struck the bar. He was first to the ball and got his reward with a full volley into the back of the net for the game-winning goal.

The Rowdies failed to threaten the Strikers goal in the second half, creating just two shots, as the hosts held on for a comfortable win at home. 

The Rowdies were limited to just five shots in the first half, compared to ten from Fort Lauderdale. Contofalsky made just one save.