Strikers Continue to Streak, Easily Defeats Atlanta
By: Pedro Heizer
The Strikers are on a roll.
For the first time since 2011 the club has a three-game winning streak after a commanding 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night in front of 3,109 fans.
Forward Fafà Picault, who started in place of Marius Ebbers caused the Atlanta defense problems all night with his movement, and went close to scoring twice in the first half.
The agile forward had a close range effort denied by a brilliant point-blank save from Silverback’s keeper Eric Ati, and he also missed a great chance in the 45th minute after a great set up by Mark Anderson.
Anderson himself was sensational.
The Englishmen worked very hard in the first half, setting up teammates. Although not credited for the assist, Anderson was fundamental in the Strikers first goal.
Anderson went down the left side, and after a Silverback’s defenders didn’t clear his low cross, Martin Nunez grabbed the rebound and sank in his third goal in as many matches.
Despite dominating the first half, Fort Lauderdale only led 1-0.
The second half is where the fireworks began, and it started early courtesy of Anderson who just five minutes into the second half send a blast past Ati.
A quick throw from Ivan Guerrero was played right into Anderson’s path who struck the ball on the bounce from 30 yards into the far corner of the net. The goal has to be Goal of the Year, no doubt about it.
“Anderson is one of the best,” said head coach Gunther Kronsteiner. “You can always count on him, he’s one of those players in the league that can shoot from 30 yards out and be very dangerous.”
In the 73rd minute a hard foul by Atlanta’s Alex Harlley put Strikers’ fan on the edge of their seats as Anderson went down in pain. Harlley was given a red card for the hard foul, ad Anderson was taken out of the game to receive treatment.
According to team officials, Anderson was not taken to the hospital.
In the 78th minute, Carlos Salazar added a Goal of the Week nominee himself as his freekick from the top of the box found the back of the net to give the home team the 3-0 lead.
Then, in the final seconds of the match, Fort Lauderdale took the commanding 4-0 lead after Picault converted a penalty kick.
Fort Lauderdale seems to be gelling at the right time. With the win, the Striker find themselves in first place in the Spring Season.
“I’m extremely satisfied with the way we played as a team,” said Picault after the game. “That’s three wins in a row, both home and away. That shows how well we are gelling as a team”
The Strikers now travel to Minnesota to take on Minnesota United FC on the 17th in a clash between the top two teams in the league.
Fort Lauderdale then travels to St. Petersburg to take on longtime rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies, then return to historic Lockhart Stadium for the last time in the Spring Season for a clash against the New York Cosmos before closing out the shortened season in San Antonio on June 7th.