The Fort Lauderdale Strikers earned new coach Gunter Kronsteiner his first win, holding on to a 2-1 lead secured in the first half, despite a determined San Antonio Scorpions pressing for an equalizer in front of their home crowd. A Martin Nunez header and Mark Anderson free kick earned a two-goal lead that was halved by Tomasz Zahorski on the stoke of halftime, and the Strikers defended sternly to win.
“I feel very good today because I thought the team deserved the three points,” said Striker coach Kronsteiner. “I think we need every day to work in practice and change things and we are slowly being able to do that. I was happy with the first half today.”
Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson, whose side has opened the Fall Season with three losses having closed out the spring campaign as the league’s form side, said: “It’s very disappointing that we weren’t able to find the back of the net, but I saw signs of our forwards being great threat.”
The Scorpions and Strikers entered the clash at Toyota Field both looking for their first points of the season and the visitors looked to be taking a two-goal lead into halftime until the hosts struck in injury time.
With only two minutes played in the first half, Strikers midfielder Martin Nunez scored a header off of a free kick from midfielder Mark Anderson and from that point, the Scorpions struggled to compete offensively against the Strikers.
The Strikers dominated, out-shooting the Scorpions throughout the first half and claimed a second goal when Anderson rocketed a free kick passed Patrick Hanningan at the 26-minute mark.
The Scorpions had a hard time finding any offensive coherency and the team’s first shot on goal came in the 24th minute when midfielder Pat Phelan fired a volley that sailed over the Strikers cross-bar.
The Scorpions seized on a defensive lapse during the first half stoppage time when forward Tomasz Zahorksi pounced on a loose ball during a melee at a corner kick.
The Scorpions used that first half momentum coach Hankinson mentioned during halftime. In the 50th minute, midfielder Pat Phelan, blasted another shot over the Strikers’ goal keeper, Richard Sanchez. Phelan would have two more similar scoring opportunities that could not be capitalized upon.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|