The Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to avoid losses but struggle to secure wins.
Three matches into the NASL fall season, the Strikers remain winless and unbeaten after a 2-2 tie against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.
Walter Ramirez’s penalty kick in the 90th minute helped Fort Lauderdale salvage its third consecutive tie. Ramirez drew a penalty after he was fouled by Atlanta midfielder Kosuke Kimura inside the large area. The Strikers’ midfielder sent a shot that bounced off the right post and into the net.
“We cannot buy anything for this — that’s the bad part,” Fort Lauderdale coach Gunter Kronsteiner said. “I’m still happy that, at minimum, we had the draw at the end, but I also felt we were the better team [Saturday].”
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Jose Angulo headed in a shot during that appeared to have given the Strikers (0-3-0, 3 points) the lead during stoppage time but the goal was disallowed because of his foul on Kimura as Angulo reached for the ball.
The Strikers repeatedly attacked the Atlanta back line in the second half, whereas two scoring threats by the Silverbacks (1-1-1, 4 points) resulted in goals.
Pedro Mendes broke a 1-1 tie and put the Silverbacks ahead with a goal in the 76th minute. Mendes retrieved Junior Burgos’ free kick from the right wing and tapped in a shot from 10 yards and past Strikers goalkeeper Josh Ford.
The Strikers took a 1-0 lead on Marlon Freitas’ goal in the 55th minute. Brazilian midfielder PC dribbled deep toward the right end of the penalty area. PC centered a pass to Freitas, who one-timed a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that landed inside the left post.
Freitas celebrated the goal by removing his jersey, prompting match referee Bernhard Hosu to caution him with a yellow card.
The Silverbacks responded with Jaime Chavez’s bicycle kick game-tying goal 10 minutes later. Simon Mensing’s header off Paul Black’s corner kick found Chavez inside the 6-yard box, where he converted a shot with his back to the goal and feet off the ground.
“They had two chances and they scored and sometimes in soccer this is exactly what happens,” Kronsteiner said. “So we still have to work on a few issues.”
PC had the best scoring opportunity of the first half when his header just outside the 6-yard box bounced off the crossbar.