The Strikers dance to celebrate Stefano Pinho's opening goal. (Photo: Fort Lauderdale Strikers)

Recap: Strikers dominate in Coastal Cup matchup

Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 – 2 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers
Lockhart Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Cautions: 18’ – Gabriel (FTL), 30’ Thomas (FTL), 41’ Mkandawire (TBR), 71’ Saragosa


TBR – (F) Hernandez for (F) Shriver 68’, (F) Hertzog for (F) Nuñez 73’, (D) Zack Boggs for (D) Saragosa 79’
FTL – (M) Frimpong for (M) Ramirezl 78’, (F) Bruno Nunes for (F) Stefano 80’, (M) Sanchez for (M) Gabriel 88’


4′ – Stefano Pinho (FTL)
19’ – Maicon Santos – Assist by Georgi Hristov (TBR)
43’ – James Marcelin – Assist by Ramirez (FTL)


Major Themes

– Despite the errant early score, Rowdies dominated possession early, but surrendered the remainder of the game
– Rowdies refused to test the defense of the Strikers with fast forward movement, instead opting for east / west ball control
– The smart, fast counterattack that was successful the week before, completely disappeared from the Rowdies toolbox
– Ft. Lauderdale’s methodical ball movement and domination of the second half all but secured the win – a major improvement from the week before when they surrendered 2 late goals to the Cosmos

In Form:

– PC – Smart and aggressive play continues to work for him, including his ability to feign fouls near the goal
– Gunter Kronsteiner – The Strikers head coach seems to have figured out a gameplan on how to stop the Rowdies 4-3-3 attack, opting to use a 4-2-3-1 and clogging up the midfield


– GK Kamil Čontofalský – Many people are wondering why the keeper who was replaced by a red hot Matt Pickens, continues to get the start despite some very questionable goals
– Rowdies killer instinct – Or appropriately, a lack thereof. Their tendency to dive into the corners and then back into the defensive midfield is infuriating. The lack of capitalization on scoring opportunities is the reason for much of the failure of the team. The fact that this is a recurring theme has many fans pulling out their hair in frustration, and questioning both the formations, and the players themselves
– Conditioning / Age / Exhaustion of the Rowdies forwards. Maicon Santos has a killer instinct for being in the right place at the right time, but he is effort is hit or miss if he’s not getting adequate service. Late in the game he simply jogged around the defense, making no efforts to get free or make a play on the ball. Unfortunately, the subs on the bench have plenty of energy and effort, but have yet to be able to find the back of the net in sufficient amounts to warrant a lineup change.

You Won’t See On The Highlights

– The secret laboratory where the Rowdies transform from Dr. Jeckyl to Mr. Hyde one week to the next. If there were such a thing as a team being bi-polar, this would be the text book case.
– The terrible mispronunciations of the Ft. Lauderdale broadcast crew. Both teams suffered the indignity of being consistently mislabeled.
– How empty Lockhart Stadium was. Despite announcing an attendance of over 5,400 people, the actual fans in the stands appeared to be far fewer, even at peak times.
– Freddy Adu or Omar Salgado – Neither dressed or traveled for this match; frustrating fans on both sides for different reasons

Lessons Learned

– Whatever lessons are being taught, they’re not being absorbed over in St. Pete. The Rowdies are completely manic one moment, and mind-numbingly inept the next. Coach Thomas Rongen has struggled to create an identity with his team, and while the players have gelled well off the field, it has not translated into an effective playing unit on the pitch.

– The Rowdies have finally scored on a set piece – this time a direct kick from outside the box – making it their third of the season. While this is an improvement, the lack of attack in the rest of the game has fans scratching their heads.

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