Less than a week after meeting in South Florida, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers travel a state north to take on the Atlanta Silverbacks in Atlanta, Georgia. Last Friday the Strikers edged out the Silverbacks in an eight-goal thriller at Lockhart Stadium, emerging 5-3 victors in front of 3,160 home fans.
In an attack-heavy lineup, it took all of five minutes for the Strikers to get on the board. On-loan forward Paulo Jr. opened the scoring with his first goal for the Strikers, before the talismanic Mark Anderson doubled the lead lead with his team-high tenth league goal of the season. Atlanta did well to equalize before the halftime interval with goals from Matt Horth and a Pedro Mendes’ penalty.
The Strikers came out of the tunnel the better side in the second half. Walter Restrepo recorded his league-leading seventh and eighth assists, and Aly Hassan found the back of the net for the first time in the league since a hat-trick in April. Paulo Mendes made it a one-goal game with a cool finish with less than a quarter-hour remaining, but Walter Restrepo ensured all three points stayed in Fort Lauderdale, finishing off a swift counterattacking move in the final minutes of the match.
While the game was an exhibition of the sides’ attacking prowess, it also highlighted both teams’ defensive frailties. Together, the Strikers and Silverbacks have conceded 74 goals between them so far this season. Fort Lauderdale is one of just two teams in a playoff spot with a negative goal differential, the only other side is the Carolina RailHawks who lost 8-0 to the San Antonio Scorpions at the weekend.
With the win, the Strikers jumped up to fourth place in the table, ahead of Minnesota Stars FC and Carolina RailHawks. The game could be seen as something of a missed opportunity for the Silverbacks, who had a chance to climb out of the bottom of the table, as FC Edmonton dropped points away to the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Saturday, August 4, 2012 — 7:30 P.M. EDT
Webcast: NASL on ustream
TV: Azteca Atlanta CH 4
2012 Series: Fort Lauderdale, 1-1-0, 4 points
2011 Series: Tied, 1-2-1, 5 points each
Atlanta Fort Lauderdale
Head Coach Eric Wynalda Daryl Shore
2012 Records 8th: 3-5-11, 14 points 4th: 7-6-7, 27 points
Last Five Games L W W L L T T W L W
Goals Leader Reinaldo Navia (6) Mark Anderson (10)
Assists Leader Ciaran O’Brien (4) Walter Restrepo (8)
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|U.S. Open Cup: Minnesota United 0 Des Moines Menace 1|
|U.S. Open Cup: Carolina RailHawks 3 Carolina Dynamo 1|
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|Tampa Bay Rowdies||6||3||2||1||3||11|
|Minnesota United FC||6||2||2||2||1||8|
|San Antonio Scorpions||6||1||2||3||-4||5|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||6||1||1||4||-6||4|