The host Fort Lauderdale Strikers won their third consecutive encounter and moved up to second place in the 2013 NASL Fall Season Standings by defeating the league-leading Carolina RailHawks, 1-0, in front of a crowd of 3,236 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Friday evening.
Forward Darnell King scored the game-winner in the 52nd minute off an assist from Honduran defender Ivan Guerrero for the Strikers who also handed the RailHawks their first loss of the Fall Campaign.
“It was a tough match against the top team in the league, but we got the win.” said Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but the team’s confidence is getting higher with each win. We just need to continue working hard and see where it takes us.”
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 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 Shipalane 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.
After King's third goal of the season, the Strikers best chance to increase the scoreline in the second half was in the 79th minute when midfielder Walter Restrepo made his presence felt forcing the Railhawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald into a one-on-one save.
The RailHawks seemed poised to battle back for a draw with several attempts, including two blocked shots in stoppage time, but Fort Lauderdale’s backline remained tight throughout the entire 90 minutes and posted a clean sheet for the match.
“I felt the first half we were the better team, but we didn’t take advantage of it,” RailHawks coach Colin Clarke commented after the game. “We came out, gave up a sloppy goal and that was the game.”
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|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||18||14||5||3||6||-2|
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|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||8||12||2||2||8||-14|