Published On: Wed, Apr 8th, 2015

Despite Record Crowd, Strikers Fall to Cosmos 1-0

story by: Pedro Heizer

photos by: Rosa Cavalcanti

Despite a modern-era record crowd of 11,691, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers struggled in the second half of their NASL season opener versus the New York Cosmos.

Leo Fernandes’ header in the 58th minute proved to be the difference on a night where everything was going right for the Strikers.

“The atmosphere was great,” said Strikers forward Aly Alberto Hassan. “We were disappointed with the result but it’s a long season and we can’t dwell too much on this result.”

“We played a very solid game for the beginning of the season,” said Strikers’ Head Coach Marcelo Neveleff. “We need to do a little better in front of the goal, but the score is not indicative of the way the match was played.”

With the loss, the Strikers remain winless versus the Cosmos since their return to the NASL three years ago with a 0-5-1 record.

Strikers’ captain Léo Moura made his presence felt in the 6th minute with a high cross into the penalty area and played very well throughout the entire game with his dazzling passes and near goals from set pieces. “It was our first game together,” explained Moura through an interpreter. “We created a lot of chances, we just couldn’t score.”

“It was our first game together,” explained Moura. “We created a lot of chances, we just couldn’t score.”Strikers midfielder Victor ‘PC’ Giro had the best opportunity for the home team in the 38th minute. His right-footed blast inside the penalty was on target was saved by Maurer.

“We played a good game,” said PC. “In the first half we were able to set our pace and the fact the goal didn’t come was a detail.”

However, in the second half things were different. Fort Lauderdale continued to attack the goal but in a 58th-minute corner by former Strikers midfielder Walter Restrepo that found the perfect placement for Fernades for the header, the game changed.

“It’s unfortunate that we were scored on in a set piece, but now it’s time to forget this game and move on and focus on Jacksonville,” added PC after the game.

Despite the scoreline, the new attack-minded Strikers outshot New York 14 to 8 and doubled up 6 to 3 on the shots on goal category. Stefano Pinho, Moura and PC came close to scoring for the Strikers in the first half, all forcing Maurer to make good saves for the Cosmos.

“This week we have to work more on set-pieces, both offensive and defensive,” added PC. “We had many chances off set-pieces and sometimes, like tonight, a set-piece can be the difference.”

The Strikers now prepare for an in-state rivalry at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, April 11 as they host expansion-side Jacksonville Armada, who broke the NASL single-game attendance record this weekend with 16,164 fans at EverBank Field.


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