Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Strikers Tie, Battery Wins

This past weekend saw some fine Division II professional soccer being played in both the NASL and the USL-PRO leagues.  In NASL action, our beloved reborn Fort Lauderdale Strikers played to a 1 - 1 tie at Lockhart Stadium against the NSC Minnesota Stars in front of 4,400 fans.  Minnesota broke the 0 - 0 tied score in the 61st minute with a headed goal from Devin Del Do off a  free kick, but plenty of action occured before that moment.  After staving off a barrage of shots on goal by Minnesota in the 39th minute, the Strikers almost scored on a Martin Nunez cross that Brian Arguez punched over the crossbar.  Then, in the 87th minute, Eduardo Coudet fired a beautiful strike that missed the right post by inches.  With only 30 seconds left in regular time, Strikers midfield Brian Shriver was brought down in the box, setting up Eduardo Coudet's penatly kick goal and the final result of the game.

After the match, Strikers coach Daryl Shore said, "We felt that we were better tonight, soccer wise.  We were frustrated that we weren’t up a couple goals at halftime, but we have to keep fighting and we’ll get better. They made some great saves, but tonight we created great chances and as long as you have create chances, the goals will come.”

Meanwhile, in USL-PRO league action, the Charleston Battery travelled to Dayton Ohio to face the Dayton Dutch Lions, newly promoted from the USL Division III and hence the newest professional side in North America.  Established in 2009, the Lions are owned by former Eredivisie player Erik Tammer, hence the Dutch team identification.  Playing at the Miami Valley South Stadium before a sparsely attended total of just over 1,000 spectators, the Lions season opener was a struggle against the more talented Charleston side.  The first half was a balanced, scoreless affair, but in the 46th minute, just moments after the re-start, the Battery drew first blood when Nicki Patterson scored on a rebound after Lions keeper Jesper Leerdam mishandled his initial shot, putting the Battery up by one.  Then, a Patterson free kick in the 58th minute was put away by Colin Falvey, opening the Battery's lead to two.  In the 65th minute, Lion's forward Kolby LaCrone put a goal in to make it close, but the Lions could not find the equalizer and hence the Charleston Battery go to 2 - 0 - 0 on the young season.

Next up for these two Second Division sides are a pair of away games.  This upcoming Saturday the Strikers travel to Atlanta to play the absurdly-named Atlanta Silverbacks, while on Saturday Charleston travels to Richmond for an away match against the American Division-leading Richmond Kickers.  Check back here next week for an update of both matches.