Miami Sports Day

NASL: Strikers’ Unbeaten Streak Ends at Seven Against Rowdies

LAUDERHILL, Fla. — Despite a very quick start with an early goal the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have their undefeated streak stopped at seven matches after a 4-1 loss to traditional rival Tampa Bay Rowdies at Central Broward Stadium.

Ramon Nunez scored in the fourth minute for the Strikers when Kleberson set him up just in front of the goalmouth for a simple tap. Nunez also had another chance five minutes later when his free kick skidded just wide off the wet turf.

The Strikers result coupled with other NASL action this weekend, sees the Fort Lauderdale side slip to eighth place in the combined standings. But Fort Lauderdale sits just four points out of the final spot in the NASL Championship, currently held by Minnesota. Tampa Bay takes sole possession of fifth place, one point behind the Loons, with a game in hand.

Following Nunez’s opener, visiting Tampa Bay didn’t wait long to get back in the game when Georgi Hristov netted the first of his three goals in the 15th minute. Former England international and Premier League winner Joe Cole found Hristov inside the box right in front of goalkeeper Bruno for a sliding goal.

Hristov also scored in the 43rd minute and completed his hat trick with eight minutes to play. Tommy Heinemann’s tally in the 37th minute gave the Rowdies a 3-1 halftime lead.

The Strikers did give a bit of a push after the break to try and get back into the game, but opportunities were few. After Junior Sandoval and Amauri came on the pitch in the 53rd minute to strengthen the front, Sandoval came close with a couple of attempts in a span of two minutes.

At one stage, the Strikers managed a series of six successive corner kicks, but without netting a goal.

Nunez also executed a dangerous free kick in the 74th minute as Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens managed to block the ball sideways for a corner kick.

Despite giving up four goals, Bruno really kept the scoreline to a minimum, making eight saves that included a few high quality stops.

The Strikers had a total of five shots on target, while the Rowdies hit for 12 overall, with six each in both halves.

The Strikers hit the road for three consecutive games, starting on Wednesday, September 28th with their first visit to face Puerto Rico FC. They will then travel to New York to take on the Cosmos on October 2nd, followed by the game at Carolina October 8th.

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