PLAYER OF THE WEEK | Fort Lauderdale Forward Stefano Pinho

NASL’s leading scorer tallies goal, pair of assists in convincing win over Carolina
NASL Staff | Oct 19, 2015

Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Stefano Pinho, the leading scorer in the NASL in 2015, has been named Player of the Week after tallying a goal and two assists in his team’s 4-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks on Saturday night.

Pinho’s goal added to his league-leading total of 16 – a mark that looks likely to earn him the NASL Golden Boot award at season’s end. The 24-year-old forward’s contribution on Saturday night not only lifted the Strikers to an emphatic win in front of their home fans – it also put Fort Lauderdale into the driver’s seat in the race for the final spot in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament.    

"This has been the best year of my career, and I am very happy to be scoring goals and assisting my teammates,” Pinho said. “It's an honor to be named Player of the Week again and of course I want to be the top scorer, but I am just happy to be playing a part in the team's success as we play good soccer and challenge for The Championship."

The Strikers were all over the RailHawks at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, breaking the deadlock in the 21st minute. A cross from Pinho found the head of defender Frankie Sanfilippo, who put Fort Lauderdale in front. Not long after halftime, Pinho played the role of provider again, setting up fellow Brazilian youngster Marlon Freitas for the club’s third goal. With the rout on, Pinho added a goal of his own in the 56th minute to cap off a comprehensive victory for Fort Lauderdale.

"For me, there is no question that Stefano is the one player in this league that really stands out this season,” Strikers head coach Gunter Kronsteiner said. “When you score that many goals, the defenders already know about you. With Stefano, they still cannot defend him. He not only helps himself, but he helps his teammates as well, so I think it is more than deserved that he receives this recognition once again."

Pinho joined the Strikers on loan from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense prior to the 2015 season. He has been an instant hit in Fort Lauderdale, racking up 16 goals and seven assists in 25 appearances so far this year. Pinho has been named NASL Player of the Week four times and has taken home Player of the Month honors once.

The Strikers have a quick turnaround this week, but remain at home to host the San Antonio Scorpions on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The match can be seen live on ESPN3 in the U.S. and on in Canada.

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