Soccer

Miami FC, Strikers play to 1-1 tie in NASL Fall Season opener

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ Luis Fernandes tries to get past a Miami FC defender during a match at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on April 2, 2016. The teams played again on July 2, 2016, and tied 1-1.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ Luis Fernandes tries to get past a Miami FC defender during a match at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale on April 2, 2016. The teams played again on July 2, 2016, and tied 1-1. mocner@miamiherald.com

A new season opener and identical result when it involves a match between Miami FC and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

The South Florida-based NASL clubs played to a 1-1 tie in their fall season opener Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium — a similar outcome to the spring opener in April.

In a game that featured a 43-minute lightning delay to start the second half, the Strikers erased a halftime deficit on Gale Agbossoumonde’s goal in the 53rd minute. Gabriel’s corner kick found Agbossoumonde inside the 6-yard box, where he headed in a shot past Miami goalkeeper Mario Vega.

Dario Cvitanich nearly gave Miami the lead again in the 70th minute, when his indirect free kick bounced off the crossbar.

Despite playing 120 minutes in their U.S. Open Cup victory over MLS squad Orlando City three nights earlier, the Strikers repeatedly pressured Miami for the tie-breaking goal.

In the 75th minute, Maicon Santos’ shot deep in the penalty rolled a couple of feet wide of the right post. Vega deflected Ramon Nuñez’s indirect free kick in the 79th minute.

“We didn’t play well in the first half, we were tired from the game Wednesday,” Strikers coach Caio Zanardi said. “But I think the one point we get is good for us.”

Miami took an early lead on Cvitanich’s successful penalty kick 18 minutes into the match. Strikers defender Julius Jones fouled Miami’s Ariel Martinez inside the large area, resulting in Cvitanich’s kick that landed inside the right post.

“It was a match of two halves,” Miami FC Alessandro Nesta said. “In the first we were aggressive, and in the second half we looked tired and [ball] possession was nonexistent.”

The Strikers had two first-half opportunities to tie the match. Vega stopped Jose Angulo’s shot near the 6-yard box in the 25th minute, and Nuñez’s 20-yard shot sailed above the crossbar during stoppage time.

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