The Fort Lauderdale Strikers came close to a draw against Ukrainian powerhouse FC Shakhtar Donetsk after conceding a late goal in a tough 1-0 loss at Lockhart Stadium.
The Strikers played their fourth international opponent this month in preparation for the upcoming North American Soccer League season, which kicks off April 2 at Lockhart against Miami FC.
After a scoreless draw against Brazilian Serie A champions Corinthians on Saturday, coach Caio Zanardi rotated his squad to give players opportunities against the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.
One player making his first appearance for the Strikers was goalkeeper Diego Restrepo, who staved off Shakhtar’s attacking arsenal for 79 minutes with four quality saves. His good work was undone after an individual mistake, when he failed to maneuver past Marlos inside his own box. The goalkeeper had the ball stolen off his feet and carried into goal by the Shakhtar midfielder for the game’s deciding goal.