Strikers Grab Foothold In The Championship Race With Big Win Over The RailHawks

Fort Lauderdale run rampant in win over Carolina
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Staff | Oct 17, 2015

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers trounced the Carolina RailHawks, 4-0, at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night to leap into the fourth and final postseason spot.

The win gives the Strikers 37 points and places them in the driver’s seat for the final position in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament. The Tampa Bay Rowdies slipped to fifth place with 35 points following a scoreless draw at Atlanta on Saturday night. FC Edmonton lost, 3-2, at Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday to remain in sixth place with 34 points.

Stefano Pinho was once again instrumental in the victory, scoring his league-leading 16th goal and adding two assists in front of a crowd of 2,998. Stefano capped the scoring in the 56th minute with a simple tap into an open net following a pass by Marlon Freitas. The NASL goal leader had an additional four shots on target.

Freitas turned provider for Stefano after his compatriot set him up just eight minutes earlier from the edge of the penalty area. The Brazilian midfielder directed a one-time shot to the far post over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald for his seventh goal in 2015.

Defenders Jonathan Borrajo and Frankie Sanfilippo became the first American-born players to score for the Strikers this year when they each hit the back of the net in the first half.

Sanfilippo arrived at the back post to direct a powerful header across the goalkeeper following a precise cross over the Carolina defense by Stefano to open the scoring in the 21st minute. Right back Borrajo scored his first goal in the Red & Gold at the half hour mark from a nearly impossible angle on the right touchline.

“It was an all-around good win,” Sanfilippo said. “I’m glad we did it in front of the home crowd. Now we have to keep it going Wednesday. Our main focus is getting that fourth playoff spot.”

Using their standard 4-2-3-1 formation, the Strikers had 55 percent ball possession and outshot the RailHawks 16-6, with eight shots on target. Neither side received a booking from center referee Younes Marrakchi.

Unlike his counterpart, David Meves did not have a very busy night in the Strikers net, needing to make just two saves for his second shutout this year. Meves also kept a clean sheet in the scoreless tie against the Atlanta Silverbacks on May 2.

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