It wasn’t as easy as they had hoped, but the second-tier NASL Fort Lauderdale Strikers advanced 7-6 in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw against amateur PDL Laredo Heat in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match at Lockhart Stadium on Tuesday.
“That’s what the US Open Cup is all about,” said Strikers’ coach Daryl Shore. “You put everything on the line when you play these games.”
With the decision, Fort Lauderdale will host MLS Western Conference leading FC Dallas at Lockhart Stadium on Tuesday, May 28, in the Third Round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
After a first half of soccer that was about as uneventful as watching grass grow, Mark Anderson finally broke the nil-nil scoreline in the 54th minute when Darnell King raced down the middle, passing through the Heat’s defense and delivering a great ball to Anderson who had no trouble putting it in the net.
In the 66th minute, Laredo’s Daniel Galvan Barbosa was given a red card after he shoved Darnell King to the ground after King broke free from the defense.
Despite playing a man down in the last 24 minutes of regulation, Laredo still managed a goal from defender Camilo Bolero in the 83rd minute, tying the score at 1-1.
“When we went up a man I think we took the foot off the gas a little,” said keeper Matt Glaeser. “Bolero’s ball took a deflection and I went the wrong way, I could have done better.”
“Matt’s our goalkeeper,” assured Shore. “He’s been here a long time, he was just on a bad run lately but he came up huge for us in the end.”
After a deadlock score through 120 minutes of play, it took penalties to declare the winner.
Shot after shot, neither team missed a penalty try until Genaro Hernandez had his shot stopped by Matt Glaeser in the seventh round. Stephane Guillaume stepped up for the Strikers with a chance to win, but his shot was saved by Emmanuel Frias.
Then Gregory Mulamba’s attempt for Laredo was saved by Glaeser, his second consecutive save. Finally, Toni Stahl took his chance, and with a short run up, struck the ball low and to the left to win the shootout for the Strikers in the eighth round of the tiebreaker, sending them on to face FC Dallas.
“I expect them [FC Dallas] to bring their full team,” said coach Shore. “It’s a chance for our guys to face an MLS team and see what we are really about.”
“We’re going to have to come out and play a lot better than we did tonight if we want to beat FC Dallas,” said Glaeser. “But I do think we are capable of beating anyone.”