Match Preview: Fort Lauderdale vs. Edmonton
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (April 7, 2012) - In a girls' U15 friendly match-up, goals were not short to come by as Pinecrest and Miami Strikeforce played to a 4-4 draw. Strikeforce took an early 2-1 lead after a deflected shot found its way into the net. Pinecrest then strung together three unanswered goals to go into the half 4-2. Strikeforce made a couple substitutions and, after a quick one-two, clawed one back. The equalizing goal came minutes before the end of the match as a counter-attack resulted in the final goal.
Strikeforce: Erin Bigler, Vivian Calderon, Yarelis Clarke, Nichole Dennis, Katherine Ferrarone, Emely Franco, Nicole France, Kenia Llanes, Michelle Moreno, Nilda Pelegrino, Isabelle Saliba, Marian Sanchez, Jasmine Suarez, Jessica Young
Pinecrest: Shanon Portuonro, Olivia Da Grossa, Nadison Diaz, Natalia Verde, Stephony Galindo, Yuliet Ramos, Daniella Rodriguez, Sofia Sosa, Sarah Widell, Andrea Mercenart, Beatriz Garcia
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (April 6, 2012) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers host FC Edmonton at Lockhart Stadium for the NASL’s Opening Kick weekend to begin the 2012 season. This is the first meeting for the two teams since the Strikers defeated Edmonton 5-0 in the first round of the NASL playoffs last October.
The Strikers came within one game of winning the 2011 NASL Championship trophy, the Soccer Bowl, last season. The post season run marked the franchise’s first playoff victories. The success on the field led to support off the field, as the club set attendance records all season by averaging nearly 4,000 spectators a game.
For the second consecutive season the Strikers first matchup is against FC Edmonton. In last year’s home opener, the Strikers lost 2-1 in front of a crowd of 6,402. The Strikers return nine players from the 2011 roster.
“It’s important to get off to a good start at home,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore, who is back for his third season with the team. “It’s a chance to show our fans that last year wasn’t a fluke and that we’ll be a hard team to play against at home.”
The Strikers played very well at Lockhart Stadium last season. In their 17 matches at home including the playoffs, the Strikers lost only three times.
Both FC Edmonton and the Strikers boast several new additions to their sides. Headlining the list for the Strikers is former Costa Rican international forward Andy Herron, who brings fifteen years of professional experience to the side.
Under coach Shore’s direction the team has gotten younger and faster. Veteran players like Cristian Arrieta and Eduardo Coudet have departed, with first year professionals like Mark Anderson and Nickardo Blake taking their places. The squad has an average age of just 23.
“I think fans will see a hard working, sharp passing team looking to be more attacking than last season,” said Shore. “We’ve brought in some very good forwards that we expect good things from, but forwards are only as good as the players around them. We will have a team that is going to work hard for all 90 minutes.”
The Strikers are coming off a successful preseason. In their final preseason match the Strikers defeated in-state rival Tampa Bay Rowdies 4-3 in Auburndale, Fla. The win completed an unbeaten preseason for the Strikers who played nine matches with a record of 7W-2T-0L.
The last time the Strikers were defeated by FC Edmonton was the first match of the 2011 season. Since then, the Strikers have won three, drawn one, and lost zero against the Canadian side, outscoring the opposition 11 goals to 2 along the way.
The Strikers remain at home to face the 2011 NASL Champion Minnesota Stars FC on Saturday, April 14th, at 7:30p.m.