Strikers Earn Home Draw Against Carolina to Remain in Title Hunt
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and the Carolina RailHawks had to settle for a point each after a hard-fought battle ended in a 1-1 tie at Lockhart Stadium, Saturday night. Both sides finished with 10 men after Carlos Salazar and Kevin Rutkiewicz were sent off in the second half.
Former Striker Brian Shriver scored the equalizing goal in the second half for the RailHawks. Shriver beat Jeff Attinella from close range to rescue a vital point on the road for the RailHawks.
“I believe we gave them too much respect,” Strikers head coach Daryl Shore said. “The positive is we didn’t lose, the negative we didn’t win and a 1-1 tie it seems to be a fair result.”
After a strong first half performance, Scott Gordon opened the scoring for the Strikers in the 37th minute of the match, heading home a free kick from Manny Gonzalez. It was Gordon’s second goal of the year and ties him for the team lead with forward David Foley.
“First half we were very disappointing and we didn’t play well, the Strikers were a lot better than us and they wanted it more,” said RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke. “In the second half we came out so much better but it could have gone either way.”
The match changed dramatically in the 59th minute when the Strikers’ Carlos Salazar was sent off for a challenge on Eddie Ababio. Just five minutes later the visitors had defender Kevin Rutkiewicz dismissed for a hard tackle from behind on Darnell King.
Down a goal, the RailHawks brought on attacking player Cesar Elizondo as they searched for an equalizer. The breakthrough finally came in the 81st minute of the match when a Ty Shipalane through ball found the feet of Shriver in the box, who lifted the ball over the charging Attinella.
The Strikers brought on attackers Jemal Johnson and Hosman Ramos late in the match in search of the game winning goal. Walter Restrepo and Aly Hassan came the closest, but in the end both teams were forced to settle for a draw.