FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2012) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers (9W-7T-9L) clinched a spot in the NASL Playoffs for the second consecutive season with a 1-1 draw against the Puerto Rico Islanders (10W-7T-8L) in front of 4,704 fans at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday night. Puerto Rico scored in just the second minute of the match, and the Strikers answered in the 8th minute, but there would be no more scoring in the match. Fort Lauderdale will now take to the road for their final two regular season games against the Atlanta Silverbacks and FC Edmonton. Should the team finish the season in third or fourth place, Fort Lauderdale would host a first round playoff game at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 29.
“I thought we played well tonight, and obviously we’re pleased to be in the playoffs for the second year in a row,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “We know we have to play two tough road games and we’ll go into these games with a playoff mentality to stay focused and work together.”
The match started with a bang when Islanders forward Nick Addlery collected a turnover 35 yards from goal and fired a shot which skipped off the wet field, hit the inside of the left post and went into the net past Matt Glaeser. Puerto Rico took the lead 1-0 and the goal was Addlery’s ninth of the season.
The Strikers would even the match just six minutes later when a ball played into the area came to midfielder Hosman Ramos whose pass took a minor deflection and fell to the feet of Pecka. The second-year Striker shot toward net and the ball struck the bottom of the crossbar and bounced into the goal.
The match remained even the rest of the first half. In the second half, the Strikers were able to create several chances with forward Andy Herron breaking in on goal more than once. Unfortunately the best chance was called for offside and the Strikers were left without a victory in their regular season home finale.
“The support tonight was absolutely fantastic by our fans and unfortunately we were unable to reward them with a win, but both teams really pushed to get the winning goal and I felt we played well tonight,” said Shore.
Fort Lauderdale finished the regular season with a record of eight wins, four ties and two losses at Lockhart Stadium producing 28 points. The mark is a significant improvement on their 23 points earned at home in 2011. In order to return to Lockhart Stadium in the post season, it is likely the Strikers will need to win their final two regular season games. A home game would be ensured should the team reach the second round the 2012 NASL Playoffs.
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