Monday, April 25, 2011

Strikers Win, Battery Loses

In Division II professional soccer this past weekend our Jedi Soccer sides enjoyed mixed success, with our beloved Fort Lauderdale Strikers winning 2 - 1 over the horribly named Atlanta Silverbacks, while the Charleston Battery gave up two goals to the surging Richmond Kickers to surrender a 2 - 1 victory to the Virginia side. 

In NASL action, the Strikers visited Atlanta, who have chosen to name their team after the forest gorilla, a species that everyone knows is indigenous to northern Georgia (Not ! ).  Despite an energetic but uncoordinated opening by the Silverbacks, first blood fell to the Strikers in the 14th minute when forward Martin Nunez scored his first goal of the season with a chipped shot over Atlanta Keeper Felipe Quintero's head to open the scoring.  However, only two minutes later Mexican international Mario Perez leveled the score with a thunderous volley that sailed past Strikers Keeper Nic Platter, resulting in a deadlock that lasted the rest of the game.  Despite outshooting the Strikers 17 - 8, the dreadfully named Silverbacks could not pull ahead, and endured the pain of seeing a late header goal by Emsad Zahirovic dissallowed for offsides, which kept the score level.  In the final minute of regular time, Strikers substitute Yoximar Granado was fouled in the box by Atlanta defenseman Tyler Ruthven, setting up the game-winning PK by Eduardo Coudet, who sailed the ball into the net just under the crossbar for the victory.  This victory gives the Strikers their first win of the season, bringing them to 1 - 1 - 1 and a middle-of-the-pack three point position in the league standings. Attendance for the match was just over 3,000 spectators.

Meanwhile, in USL-PRO league action, the Charleston Battery lost its first game of the season to the Richmond Kickers, who came from behind to claim the victory.  Battery forward Levi Coleman opened the scoring and put the Battery ahead in the 15th minute with a thumping header off a pretty cross by Cole Peverley, but thereafter the match shifted to Richmond's favor.  In the 61st minute Richmond forward David Bulow powered a header past Battery Keeper Keith Wiggans to level the score; then the game-winner came in stoppage time as Richmond winger Shaka Bangura bounced a shot off the post and into the net to seal the resurgent victory for the Kickers.  With this loss the Battery falls to 2 - 1 - 0 on the season, with a middle-of-the-pack six point position in the USL-PRO league American Division.  The match was played before approximately 1,800 fans in Richmond's City Stadium. 

The Battery next heads to Charlotte this Friday for another match against the Evangelical Eagles (I mean, the Charlotte Eagles), while the Strikers will visit the Estadio Juan Ramon Louobriel in Bayamon PR to play against the Puerto Rico Islanders in their season home opener.