The Fort Lauderdale Strikers pushed top-ranked Major League Soccer side FC Dallas all the way in a close 2-0 defeat in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Lockhart Stadium.
Daryl Shore’s side held their own during a close first half at Lockhart Stadium that ended scoreless before Blas Perez and Matt Hedges found the target to steal the win.
“We came out with a lot of intensity and I thought we showed everybody that we're capable of playing with just about anybody,” said coach Shore. “We're disappointed. We thought we played well tonight. When you give away a goal to the best team in MLS it's tough to fight back."
Walter Restrepo should have taken the lead for the Strikers after only two minutes as he got on the end of a Darnell King pass but saw his finished saved by Chris Seitz having delayed his shot a moment too long.
Fabian Castillo’s curling shot clipped the right side of the cross bar for FC Dallas after ten minutes and immediately at the other end, Restrepo chipped a stranded Seitz, but the ball bounced safely back into the keeper’s arms off the cross bar.
Vaughn Watson fired just wide of the right upright for the visitors and as the action swung from end to end, a King header flew over the top after he had broken free and stayed onside at a free kick
The best chance of the half belonged to Castillo, as he was played clear inside the penalty area by Perez on the half hour mark, but with only the keeper to beat, scooped his finish over the crossbar as Glazer stood tall in defending the target.
The Strikers almost stole the lead on the stroke of halftime, but Seitz pushed a Carlos Salazar free kick away for a corner.
“They did take it to us in the first half,” said FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman. “I think a lot of that is enthusiasm. I think they were trying to set the initiative.”
Nine minutes into the second half, Castillo did well to pull the ball back from goal line and Perez poked home at the near post.
“I thought for the first 54 minutes we were the better team,” added Shore. “We're very disappointed because we thought we deserved better given how we played. We knew Walter and Darnell had some speed that would give them trouble, and you have to give credit to the guys behind them that were able to put them in good situations."
The Strikers lost key defender Toni Stahl lost to injury on hour mark and found themselves two goals down after 66 minutes when a free kick floated into the box was touched past keeper Glazer by captain Hedges.
Restrepo deserved to find the net but saw his late strike force a fine save from Seitz three minutes from time.
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