FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Saturday, June 4, 2016) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers recorded their first win over the New York Cosmos in the NASL Modern Era by a score of 2-1 while notching their first win at Lockhart Stadium this season. The win extended the Strikers unbeaten streak to six games in all competitions and kept the NASL Spring Season title race open.
Jose Angulo and Geison Moura struck each side of halftime to end the Strikers’ nine-match winless streak against New York. The Cosmos came to #TheLock looking to seal a second-successive Spring Season title with a win in their final match. Fort Lauderdale is now just three points behind the New York-based club with a game in hand as they travel to FC Edmonton to end their 2016 Spring campaign.
The Strikers, 4W-3T-2L, 15pts, temporarily jumped to second place in the NASL Spring Season standings upon conclusion of the match. New York awaits the results from other matches in the final week to see if they can still clinch the Spring Season title.
“We have had a consistent team the last six games. 90% of the team has remained the same,” said Head Coach and General Manager Caio Zanardi. “Earlier in the season we had injuries and never had a full team. Since the Tampa Bay game, we’ve been able to practice and give the team more information. Step-by-step now we are getting the results. We got three more points today.”
Zanardi returned to the sidelines after serving a one-match suspension against Ottawa. The manager has led the club to its best start to a season and its first winning record over nine matches.
Angulo opened the scoring for the home side in the 35th minute through a header from close range after defender Dalton stretched to flick on a corner kick taken by Ramon Nuñez.
The eventual game-winning goal was scored by Moura in the 74th minute with a low shot from the edge of the box that beat goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer at the near post.
The Strikers held a 2-0 lead until the second minute of stoppage time when Juan Arango tallied for the Cosmos from a freekick. The goal set up a dramatic finish but the Strikers held on for the win.
Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who was selected for the recent NASL Team of the Week along with midfielder Luis Felipe Fernandes, continued his unbeaten streak between the posts for the Strikers, taking it to six games in all competitions.
“Our defense played very well. Those guys are warriors,” said Restrepo. “It’s not easy to play on Wednesday and then come out here and play this well against a team playing for the Championship tonight.”
Several players received several attention today, with Manny Gonzalez making his 51st appearance after scoring on his landmark appearance against Richmond Kickers to help take the team to the Fourth Round against MLS side, D.C. United.
Following the conclusion of the match, Fort Lauderdale is three points off first place in the Spring Season with two matches remaining.
Fort Lauderdale concludes the Spring Season next Sunday, June 12, on the road against FC Edmonton. The Strikers then face Major League Soccer side D.C. United on Wednesday, June 15, in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
FTL – Jose Angulo (assisted by Dalton) – 35th minute
FTL – Geison Moura (Luis Felipe Fernandes) – 74’
NYC – Juan Arango – 90+2’
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-2-3-1) – Restrepo; James, Agbossoumonde, Dalton, PC (C); Luis Felipe, Gonzalez; Geison Moura (Pineda 90+4’), Nuñez (Gabriel 88’), Angulo (Gentile 76’); Maicon Santos
Unused Substitutes: Bruno, Adrianinho, Matheus Carvalho, Luis Zapata
New York Cosmos (4-1-4-1) – Maurer; Freeman, Ockford, Mendes (C), Ayoze; Szetela (Bover 85’), Guenzatti (Diosa 81’), Arango, Flores, Orozco (Mkosana 71’); Arrieta
Unused Substitutes: Holt, Ochieng, Roversio
FTL- Luis Felipe (caution) – 9’
FTL- PC (caution) – 16’
FTL- Restrepo (caution) – 20’
NYC- Arango (caution) – 41’
NYC- Ockford (caution) – 52’
FTL – Gonzalez (caution) – 80’