Stefano Pinho’s current offensive tear is coinciding with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ best stretch of the fall season.
Pinho scored in his third straight match after his three goal performance helped lead the Strikers to a 7-1 rout of the Indy Eleven Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium. Marlon Freitas and his fellow Brazilian midfielder PC added two goals each as the Strikers won their third consecutive game before a crowd of 3,819.
The seven goals eclipsed the Strikers’ previous high in a 6-2 win over Atlanta Oct. 19, 2013.
“I never imagined this type of game,” said Pinho, who leads the NASL with 12 goals. “But the important thing is we got the victory.”
The Strikers (4-4-2, 15 points) wasted little time in attacking the Eleven defense and scored their fastest goal of the year on Pinho’s first strike 68 seconds into the match. Indy goalkeeper Kristian Nicht deflected Freitas’ shot from 18 yards and Pinho one-timed the deflection with a bicycle kick into the net.
Five minutes later, PC gave the Strikers a 2-0 lead with a successful penalty kick. Eleven midfielder Brad Ring fouled PC inside the penalty area, resulting in PC’s conversion.
Indy (2-3-5, 9 points) cut the deficit on Dane Richards’ goal in the 16th minute. Richards intercepted Jordan Graye’s centering pass, dribbled five yards and converted on an unmarked shot from 18 yards.
The early first half scoring blitz continued when Fort Lauderdale regained its two-goal lead after Freitas’ goal in the 20th minute. Freitas dribbled toward the center and blasted an arcing shot from 25 yards that landed inside the right post.
Freitas scored his second goal with another shot from a 25-yard distance in the 67th minute.
The Strikers matched their three quick first half strikes with another three goal outburst during an eight minute span in the closing minutes of the match. Pinho scored his second and third goals in the 77th and 81s minutes and PC closed the scoring with five minutes remaining in the match.
“At some point in the game 3-1 behind something will open up,” Strikers coach Gunter Kronsteiner said of the second half barrage. “We just have to wait for these moments.”