The host Fort Lauderdale Strikers are holding the league-leading Carolina RailHawks to a score scoreless draw after the first 45 minutes at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Friday evening.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” said Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner at halftime. “This is the best team in the league. But the score is still 0-0 so we have our chances.”
The Strikers came out firing early getting two corner kicks within the first two minutes, while the Railhawks were quick to respond with a great chance from forward Brian Shrivier, in the fourth minute that was saved by goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.
Momentum stayed on the side of the Railhawks as they continued to pepper the Strikers box with precise through balls and cross but no goals thanks to strong play from the Strikers back line. Carolina’s continued pressure led to a great chance for midfielder Austin Da Luz to open the scoring in the 23rd minute but he was unable to put his chance on target from point-blank range.
In the 34th minute, forward Yaikel Perez freed up teammate Martin Nunez on the right side with a great back-heel flick but Nunez’s cross could not find a teammate. Carolina responded immediately in the 36th minute when midfielder Kenney Walker found himself alone at the far post but blasted his shoot high.
The Railhawks midfielder Ty Shipilane received a yellow card in the 38th minute for taking down Nunez at the top of the box. The Strikers midfielder Mark Anderson sent the ensuing free kick over the top crossbar.
In the closing minutes of the first half both teams created a few chances but the score remained 0-0 as they headed to the locker rooms.
“We’ve done pretty well,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke after the first 45 minutes. “We’ve had our chances looked pretty solid. We have to be smart going in the second half. Once we pass and move and move off the ball quick we cause them plenty of problems.”
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