In their first meeting at Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium in 29 years, forward Diomar Díaz has both goals for the visiting New York Cosmos in the 2-0 lead over Strikers after the first 45 minutes of play on Saturday evening.
Just ten minutes into the match the Venezuelan Díaz opened the scoring after heading past Mexican goalkeeper Richard Sánchez in the Strikers goal.
Cosmos midfielder Ayoze provided a pinpoint cross for the first goal. His ball from the left found the head of the unmarked Díaz alone in the six-yard box. The second goal was scored on a rebound after Sánchez had done well to save an initial shot by the Bulgarian forward Stefan Dimitrov, but was out of position for the second attempt.
It went from bad to worse for the Strikers after going a goal down, when Haitian defender Stéphane Guillaume was injured in a challenge with Spanish midfielder Marcos Senna and had to be stretchered off the field in the 21st minute.
Brazilian defender Rafael Alves went close for the Strikers in the 25th minute of the match, however eight minutes later, Díaz doubled the lead for the Cosmos with his second tally.
“We may have two goals, but that was a very tough half for us,” said Cosmos coach, Giovanni Savarese at halftime. “The Strikers are making it very difficult out there and playing a physical game. We need to come out in the second half with even more energy.”
Current Strikers coach this evening Raoul Voss, due to the one-game suspension of Günter Kronsteiner, said at the end of the first half: “We’re playing too sleepy. If you’re not aggressive against a team like the Cosmos, you’re going to pay for it. We have to change this.”
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|