The Fort Lauderdale Strikers trail 3-1 after the first leg of the NASL Championship series, but Coach Daryl Shore remains optimistic that they can clinch the title Saturday at Lockhart Stadium.
FORT LAUDERDALE , Fla. (Oct. 22, 2011) – The Fort Lauderdale Strikers fell to the NSC Minnesota Stars in the first leg of the NASL Championship Series by a final of 3-1. The second leg of the series will take place at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 7:30p.m.
"It was a tough night for us from the start with giving up the goal in the fourth minute," said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. "We know it's only halftime and we now come home knowing what we need to do. We're disappointed with the result, but know we have 90 minutes to play."
The Stars struck early in the match when their took the lead in the fourth minute on a Neil Hlavaty struck free kick from just outside the penalty area into the far corner of the goal. The goal gave the Stars a 1-0 lead. It was the first time the Strikers trailed in the post season.
The Strikers tied the game on a Stars' own goal in the 52nd minute. Fort Lauderdale defender Lance Laing sent in a long cross toward the far side of the goal, when a Minnesota defender redirected the ball back toward his won net and it bounced past Joe Warren.
Minnesota re-took the lead just a minute later on an excellent shot by Luke Mulholland after the Strikers turned the ball over in their own half of the field.
The Strikers brought on their second half spark plug Martin Nunez in the 70th minute and he was able to create a few chances for Fort Lauderdale. However, in the 77th minute, the Stars would add to their lead when Lucas Rodriguez snuck through the Strikers' defense and beat goalkeeper Matt Glaeser at the near post to give the Stars a 3-1 lead.
The second and final leg of the NASL Championship Series will be at Lockhart Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 7:30p.m.