Gunter Kronsteiner will return for a second stint to coach the Fort Lauderdale Strikers for their fall season.
On Wednesday night, Kronsteiner led the Strikers to the playing field for their exhibition against Argentine club Boca Juniors at Lockhart Stadium but watched from the stands. Kronsteiner, who rejoined the team Tuesday, was pleased with his team’s first-half performance before Boca Juniors amped the pressure and defeated the Strikers 3-0 at Lockhart Stadium.
“I wanted to see this game so I can get an idea of what we’re lacking,” said Kronsteiner, who led the Strikers to the 2014 NASL fall season final but was not retained for the recently concluded spring season in which Fort Lauderdale finished eighth and missed the playoffs. “I saw a lot of potential [Wednesday] but of course we have a lot of work to do.”
Boca Juniors wasted little time attacking the Strikers and converted with Jonathan Calleri’s goal three minutes into the match. Calleri stole a pass deep and dribbled into the penalty area, beating Strikers goalkeeper Lionel Brown with a shot from 12 yards.
But the Strikers controlled the ball and had repeated runs on goal the remainder of the first half. Bruno Nunes had shots stopped by Boca Juniors goalkeeper Agustin Orion in the 12th and 13th minutes. Nunes missed an open shot in the 32nd minute when his attempt sailed above the crossbar. Orion also stopped Stefano Pinho’s shot off a deflected free kick in the 35th minute.
For the Strikers, the wasted opportunities proved additionally troubling after Boca Juniors increased the lead to 2-0 on Alexis Rolin’s goal in the 55th minute. Rolin received Nicolas Colazo’s corner kick and converted on a shot just outside the 6-yard box. Cristian Pavon’s goal in the 77th minute closed the scoring for Boca Juniors.
The Strikers will open the NASL fall season at Carolina on July 8 and will play their home opener against FC Edmonton on July 11.