photo by Rosa Cavalcanti
By FRANCO PANIZO
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers snapped their five-game winless run this weekend, and they did so with a result that won't soon be forgotten.
The Strikers picked up their first victory in league play since April 25 by beating the Tampa Bay Rowdies, 3-1, in front of 3,255 fans at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night. Ft. Lauderdale's win over its archrivals was also the first time in franchise history that the Strikers defeated the Rowdies in a league match.
The Rowdies gave their few hundred traveling fans a treat in the first half when Luke Mulholland buried a strike from the left side of the penalty area to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. But the Strikers, who looked poor in the first half, came out flying after halftime and responded with three unanswered goals.
Abe Thompson converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute, and Mark Anderson knocked in the winner two minutes later on a well-taken shot to the far post. The Rowdies pushed numbers forward in search of an equalizer and they had several chances late. But the Strikers bend-but-don't-break method worked, as Walter Restrepo knocked in the insurance goal in stoppage time before celebrating with teammates in front of the Rowdies' supporters section.
Here is a look back at the rest of the Week 9 action in NASL:
10-MAN RAILHAWKS STUN ISLANDERS IN FIRST VICTORY OF YEAR
The Carolina RailHawks finally have their first win of the season, and it came in a big way. The RailHawks topped the first-place Puerto Rico Islanders, 1-0, on Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park despite being down a man for more than a half. RailHawks centerback Gale Agbossoumonde was sent off in the 36th minute of the match, but Carolina took a 1-0 lead after an own goal early in the second half. Jay Needham then pulled the Islanders level, but Ty Shipalana buried the winner that sent the 3,568 fans in attendance into a frenzy in the 88th minute.
SILVERBACKS TOP FC EDMONTON FOR FIRST WIN OF SEASON
The Atlanta Silverbacks' winless start to the 2012 season has come to a close. Ciaran O'Brien scored a goal and assisted on another to give the Atlanta Silverbacks a 2-1 victory over FC Edmonton in front of a crowd of 2,521 at Clarke Stadium on Saturday afternoon. O'Brien knocked in the opener at the half-hour mark before assisting on Shane Moroney's goal 10 minutes later. Kevin Hatchi pulled one back for the Eddies early in the second half, but an equalizer never came.
SCORPIONS, STARS PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW
When two of the top three teams in a league square off, many fans and pundits expect a quality match. That was not the case with this weekend. The second-place Minnesota Stars FC and the third-place San Antonio Scorpions played to a scoreless draw as 8,639 spectators watched on at Heroes Stadium on Saturday night. San Antonio created more chances in the match, but Minnesota goalkeeper Matthew VanOekel came up with seven saves to prevent the hosts from scoring.
1. Puerto Rico Islanders (5-2-2, 17 points, +10 GD)
2. Minnesota Stars FC (4-0-5, 17 points, +6 GD)
3. San Antonio Scorpions (4-1-4, 16 points, +2 GD)
4. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (3-3-4, 13 points, -2 GD)
5. Tampa Bay Rowdies (3-4-3, 12 points, -2 GD)
6. FC Edmonton (2-5-2, 8 points, -1 GD)
7. Carolina RailHawks (1-4-5, 8 points, -6 GD)
8. Atlanta Silverbacks (1-4-5, 8 points, -7 GD)
Impressed by the Strikers' win over the Rowdies? How surprised were you by Carolina's win over Puerto Rico? Disappointed by the scoreless draw between the Scorpions and Stars?
Share your thoughts below.