We’re counting down the days until the 2014 NASL Playoffs begin by providing a bit of info on each team that made this year’s tournament. Today we take a look at the number four seed, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers went undefeated in the last seven matches of the season to earn the final spot in the postseason. The fourth seed was decided by the total number of combined points from the Spring and Fall seasons. Fort Lauderdale earned 13 of 27 possible points in the Spring and 27 of 54 in the Fall. The 40 total points were enough to squeak in for the chance to head to the Soccer Bowl.
The Strikers went on a hot streak to finish out the regular season. They earned 15 points out of a possible 21 to just edge out a team that looked destined to take the final spot in the Carolina Railhawks. And it was a big four points against Carolina during the seven game unbeaten streak that were the defining moments to put them on top of the cutoff line. In fact, their last loss was against their upcoming opponent, Minnesota United, back in September – played in Minnesota.
Looking ahead to that game against United, Fort Lauderdale have a lot going against them. First, the weather is slated to be a chilling high of 38ºF with high winds sure to be a factor as well. Second, the Strikers have not won a game against Minnesota all year long, losing all three matches, and have lost half of their away games throughout the year. They are the only team going into this postseason having allowed more goals than they have scored. And finally, Fort Lauderdale has never won a NASL championship in their 50 year history.
They are looking to change that though and their coach has a team believing they can. The Strikers are the hottest team heading into the playoffs. As the lowest seed entering the postseason, they have no pressure on them to win. That brings a sort of calm to the team that they hope will boost their confidence and play on the field. Will it be enough to get past the year’s best team in Saturday’s semifinal match? Fort Lauderdale believes it will be.