Strikers Can Narrow In On Postseason Berth With Win In San Antonio

Fort Lauderdale uses its game in hand on the other postseason contenders, but can close on clinching a postseason spot with a win
Fort Lauderdale Strikers Staff | Oct 21, 2015

After thumping the Carolina RailHawks, 4-0, on Saturday to jump back into a postseason spot, the Strikers can all but secure their place in The Championship, the NASL's four-team postseason tournament, with a positive result Wednesday night against the San Antonio Scorpions.

Around the league, most will be rooting against the Red & Gold on Wednesday. A Strikers win would eliminate five teams from postseason contention – San Antonio, Atlanta, Carolina, Edmonton, and Jacksonville. A victory would give Fort Lauderdale 40 points on the year, giving only Tampa Bay a mathematical chance of landing the No. 4 seed in The Championship, with two matches to play. The New York Cosmos, Ottawa Fury FC, and Minnesota United have all clinched their places.

Defenders Frankie Sanfilippo and Jonathan Borrajo scored their first goals for the Strikers on Saturday night, while Stefano Pinho was once again at the center of the commanding win. The Brazilian tallied assists on Sanfilippo’s opener and Marlon Freitas’ goal -– a Play of the Week candidate – before increasing his league-leading goal tally to 16 by capping the scoring. Stefano was named NASL Player of the Week for a fourth time in 2015.

Wednesday’s opponent, San Antonio, heads into the match after a 1-0 road defeat to Fall Season leaders Ottawa Fury FC on Sunday. The Scorpions fell to the Strikers at the start of the month, a 4-2 defeat in San Antonio on October 3, before picking up a crucial three points at Indy Eleven a week later. The Alamo City Boys currently find themselves in 11th place in the Combined Standings, though with three matches left to play, last season’s champions are mathematically still alive in their push to return to postseason action.

Fort Lauderdale was boosted by the return of James Marcelin from international duty and regulars Jordan Graye (broken nose) and Gabriel (lower body) from injury. All are expected to feature on Wednesday. David Meves, who started the year as first-choice goalkeeper, is back in net after recovering from a fractured jaw suffered in late May.

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