The Fort Lauderdale Strikers ended their last home match of the NASL Spring Season at Lockhart Stadium with a 2-1 defeat to the Indy Eleven on Saturday night after giving up a goal four minutes into added time.
Victor Pineda blasted a match-winning goal into the back of the net from the top of the box after a failed clearance from the Strikers.
Pineda also scored the equalizer for Indy when he beat new Strikers goalkeeper Josh Ford low to the far post, also from the edge of the box. Dylan Mares set up Pineda with a short pass.
Ford was acquired on loan from Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC the same day that the club learned David Meves sustained a fractured jaw in the U.S. Open Cup match at Charleston on May 27.
Stefano Pinho scored the lone goal for the Strikers when his header skipped off the ground past Indy goalkeeper Kristian Nicht in the 23rd minute. It was Pinho’s second goal in as many matches. Daniel Sanchez picked up the assist with a cross from the right flank.
Fort Lauderdale lost to the Indy Eleven for the first time in four meetings (2-1-1) since the sides first squared off in 2014.
The Strikers had several solid opportunities to not only at least secure a tie, but claim a victory.
Strikers captain Leo Moura forced Nicht to make a critical save off a free kick in the 56th minute.
Pinho came close to scoring his second goal of the night three minutes later. The ball reached Pinho following a good combination by Moura, James Marcelin and Shawn Chin. However, Nicht again made the stop. Marcelin also was involved on a right-side run in the 52nd minute when he found PC with a good low cross, but the shot was directed wide.
Pinho also had a fine scoring chance in the 49th minute, but once again Nicht denied him.
In the first half, Chin executed a corner kick from the left side in the 32nd minute and the ball reached Sanchez, who made a good redirect with his heel when Nicht again covered the ball to make the save on the goal line.
Marcelin tried his luck in the 30th minute with a quality shot from 30 yards out that sailed just over the bar.
Despite some heavy rain in the late afternoon, 5,083 fans came to support the Strikers.
The Strikers close out the NASL Spring Season on the road against Minnesota United FC next Saturday at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota.
Fort Lauderdale will return to Lockhart once before the start of the Fall Season when it hosts Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors in the inaugural Challenge Cup on July 1.
Nova Southeastern’s Santiago Gomez finished tied for second in a competition amongst the best of the best in college golf at the Jack Nicklaus Award Shootout at the Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.
The junior Gomez, of Armenia, Colombia, playing with and against the Nicklaus Award winners from each level, shot a 1-over-par 71, four strokes behind Division I recipient Maverick McNealy of Stanford.
Also carding a 71 was Dalton State’s Sean Elliott, the NAIA representative. Kerry Sweeney from Eastern Florida State (NJCAA) shot a 72, while Anthony Maccaglia of Division III Oglethorpe finished with an 80.
McNealy earns entry into July’s Barbasol Championship, a PGA Tour event at Grand National in Opelika, Alabama. He and Gomez, along with the other three Nicklaus winners, next get to meet the legendary namesake of the award at 10 a.m. Sunday and receive their honors during the final round of the PGA Tour’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.