A late comeback attempt came up short as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers concluded the North American Soccer League Spring Season with a 2-1 loss to host FC Edmonton on Sunday afternoon.
The Strikers kicked off the match just three points behind first-place Indy Eleven, who clinched the Spring Season title by virtue of the Fort Lauderdale’s loss. Heading into the match, the Strikers had a chance to steal the title from Indy on the final day, needing a victory over Edmonton by six goals or more.
FC Edmonton forward Jake Keegan tallied a pair of first-half goals before Strikers captain PC sparked a second-half comeback attempt after netting from the penalty spot. Despite increased attacking impetus, the equalizer never came as Fort Lauderdaleâ€™s six-match unbeaten streak came to an end.
Things got off to a poor start for the Strikers as Keegan opened the scoring in the 18th minute of the match after being slipped in behind the defense by Daryl Fordyce and alone in a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. His shot slid between the legs of Restrepo, who had only conceded one goal from open play in his five previous NASL matches, none of which ended in defeat.
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Keegan doubled his personal tally, and the Edmonton lead, just after the half-hour mark, with a header. The Eddies held onto the 2-0 lead until halftime.
Fort Lauderdale exited the locker rooms after the halftime break with newfound attacking intent. PC struck directly down the middle from the penalty spot in the 58th minute to give the Strikers hope of getting the one point needed to stay above Edmonton. But that would be all of the scoring the Strikers would get.
The Strikers finished in sixth place in the NASL Spring Season standings, behind Edmonton.
The Fall Season opener will see the Strikers host Miami FC at home on July 2 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The 15 points tallied from the Spring Season are carried over into the combined standings as the Strikers look to finish the season as one of four teams competing in The Championship.
▪ Late Saturday — Minnesota United 3, Miami 1: After a frantic first half, Minnesota United scored two early second half goals to pull away from Miami. Miami FC made it interesting with a goal in the 66th minute. Dario Cvitanich thundered down the right side of the Minnesota box, playing a great ball to Jaime Chavez who was able to tap the ball into an open net.