Fort Lauderdale Strikers Archive

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NASL Commissioner talks about Canada’s long-term plans, expansion and league format

Bill Peterson

Bill Peterson

NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson says his league is looking closely at one unnamed Canadian market as an expansion candidate, and is supportive of the long-term goals of the Canadian Soccer Association.

In a state-of-the-NASL conference call held Thursday morning, Peterson said he would be talking with CSA officials later in the day to discuss the organization’s long-term vision for the game in Canada. And he said the NASL would support the CSA’s vision, even if it includes the eventual launch of a Canadian Division “1A” league.

“We will have discussions with the CSA looking at the long-term future, what it looks like,” Peterson said. “We are open and supportive to what the long-term goals are going to be.”
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6

Beating Eddies is snow problem for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Chris Nurse, in white, was able to enjoy some revenge on his former FCE teammates. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

Chris Nurse, in white, was able to enjoy some revenge on his former FCE teammates. PHOTO: FC EDMONTON/TONY LEWIS

It was a battle of FC Edmonton’s rotated squad against a Fort Lauderdale Strikers team that didn’t get to the Alberta capital till 2 a.m. Saturday morning.

But despite playing in snow and freezing temperatures, the jet-lagged Strikers won 3-1 Saturday night at Clarke Stadium. FCE is now winless in four NASL matches this season, and is already 11 points back of spring-season table-topper, Minnesota United FC.

FCE’s dreadful night was punctuated by having to see teenage forward Sadi Jalali taken off a stretcher and sent to hospital, after a head-to-head clash with former Eddie Chris Nurse.

Nurse was yellow carded in the first half for a foul that sent Jalali crashing into the fence just outside the touch line. At the 93 minute mark, his forehead crashed into Jalali’s temple, sending the Edmonton teen crashing to the turf. After the game, Nurse sported a massive goose egg over his eye.

“There was no intent to hurt him,” said Nurse. “Sadi is one of my best friends. I talk to him all the time, even though we are on different teams, now.”
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3

Love or hate the NASL’s 9-game spring-season sked, it made for a heck of an opening weekend

Ritchie Jones: Held back in Edmonton, but was cleared to start — and set up the equalizer in Tampa.

Ritchie Jones: Held back in Edmonton, but was cleared to start — and set up the equalizer in Tampa.

In MLS, a month and a half into a marathon where 10 of the 19 teams make the playoffs, it’s hard to make the argument that any game is really important at this stage. We’re still trying to ascertain the weaknesses and strengths of teams around the league, and no match has a do-or-die feel.

Now, whether you love or hate the NASL’s decision to create a spring season in which each of the 10 teams plays a nine-game schedule — with one of the top two playoff, er, “Championship” seeds going to the league champ — there’s no doubt it brought a sense of immediacy to the opening weekend. After just one week, we can seriously discuss which teams are on their way to being contenders (Minnesota, New York Cosmos) and which teams had disastrous opening weekends that badly damaged their spring seasons (we’re looking at you, San Antonio Scorpions).

As for FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury, the stakes weren’t as high because they were both burning road games on the abbreviated schedule. The key to winning the spring season will be making sure to take care of business at home. The Fury is still feeling the bitter sting of losing the season opener 2-0 at Fort Lauderdale; but those who hold optimism for the expansion franchise can point to the fact that five of the eight remaining games on the schedule will be at Carleton University, where the turf and odd lines should provide a significant home-field advantage.

As for the Eddies, a 1-1 result at Tampa — despite hitting a post and failing to convert a penalty in a game that saw them significantly outplay the host Rowdies — isn’t bad at all. FCE was one of five teams that had five road games and just four home dates on their schedules. Now, the Eddies have burned arguably their most difficult road date (FCE doesn’t have to visit the New York Cosmos in the spring) and didn’t allow the Rowdies to get three points out of a home game. Now, the rest of the Eddies’ schedule reads four at home, four away.

With a day to reflect on the draw, coach Colin Miller said that 1-1 was a bittersweet result.
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2

Eddies end their NASL season with a, you guessed it, 1-1 draw

_MG_3317It was only fitting that FC Edmonton’s final match of the NASL season ended in a 1-1 draw.

After all, it was the scoreline that best represented the team’s season. It was the 11th time the team played a 1-1 draw.

The 11th 1-1. This game should have happened on the first of January.(And, of course, this game is being reported on The11.ca).

But after the Fort Lauderdale Strikers started off strong, and got a penalty-kick goal from Carlos Salazar, the Eddies got better as the game went on, went up a man, and got the equalizer from sub Massimo Mirabelli. The Brampton, Ont. native poked the ball through the legs of Richard Sanchez.

Based on the first 20 minutes of the game, though, and anyone watching would have predicted a Strikers’ blowout. Playing at home in the heat and the humidity, the Strikers had several chances in the first phase of the game.

But FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller was furious that a game that was scheduled to start at 7:30 local time didn’t actually get kicked off until 7:52. Teams base their warm-ups on the projected start times, and he felt that his team went cold waiting for the Strikers’ players to be introduced one by one.
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1

Dunfield still on the unattached-but-still-being-paid-by-MLS list; ex-Whitecap Paulo Jr. still paid out by MLS despite move to NASL

Terry Dunfield

Terry Dunfield

The Major League Soccer Players Union released its final salary update of the season.

For those interested in some of the intricacies of how the league works and how centrally-controlled contracts are administered, the most interesting bits come at the end of the last page (if you search by team, that is). On that final page, you’ll find the unattached players whose contracts are still being paid out by the league.

Earlier this year, union executive director Bob Foose explained to us that the unattached players on the MLSPU lists are still being paid by MLS. (CLICK HERE)

On the August update, two players cut by Toronto FC this season — Matt Stinson and Terry Dunfield — were on the list of unattached players still being paid out by MLS. But, on the September update, Stinson is off the list, but Dunfield and his US$120,000 salary is still on.
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4

Kronsteiner breaks league’s gag order on FCE ejection, mocks female fourth official

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

FC Edmonton will keep its vow of silence, despite some of the public comments made by Fort Lauderdale coach Gunter Kronsteiner in the wake of his one-game suspension and $250 fine for his conduct at Clarke Stadium last week.

On Friday night, our friends at Miami’s Ultras Alive aired the comments Kronsteiner made during a Strikers’ fans forum. (CLICK HERE and start at the 73-minute mark).

Kronsteiner addressed the incident in Edmonton, which saw him, goalkeeping coach Ricardo Lopes and sub Walter Restrepo chucked out of the game for coming onto the field and challenging referee Alain Ruch’s decision to abort FCE’s free-kick attempt. On FCE’s second attempt, Lance Laing scored the Eddies’ only goal in a 1-1 draw.

The Eddies confirmed that they can’t comment because the league has asked both teams to not comment on the situation. So, that’s what makes Kronsteiner’s decision to go public a little baffling. It’s great for media, and great for the Ultras show, that Kronsteiner decided to talk about the incident; but with NASL officials in the room during the Strikers’ fan summit, we again saw the same hubris that he displayed last Sunday in the Clarke Stadium stands — making a public show of defiance that, somehow, league rules doesn’t apply to him.

Last Sunday, police officers escorted Kronsteiner and Lopes away from the pitch. At halftime, the league office told FCE that the coaches could sit in the stands, but were not allowed to communicate with the bench. On Wednesday (CLICK HERE) commissioner Bill Peterson admitted that the league didn’t pass on the correct information, that it would have been OK for coaches to try and communicate.
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1

Will it be 1-1 again? FC Edmonton bucks the odds by playing to same tie scoreline five times in a row

FCE: More goal celebrations needed.

FCE: More goal celebrations needed.

Imagine you walked into a Vegas casino, with the intent of putting a few bucks on a longshot. You go to the window, and tell the agent that you want to bet on one team playing five consecutive draws.

Chances are the possible would be good. Odds would be multiplied week after week.

But, “a-ha,” you say. “I’m not going to be on five draws, but that each of the games will have the same scoreline; they’ll all finish 1-1!”

Now, 1-1 is one of the most common scorelines of all in soccer (more on that later). But, still, to see it repeated five times, against five different opponents, is a longshot of longshots. Some of the opponents would be better, some would be worse. Some would have a higher-than-average goals-per-game standard, some would be below the league average. The opponents would be variables, not constants. Yet, to see a team play them all to 1-1 draws over the course of five consecutive weeks, home games and road games, is mind boggling.

But that’s what FC Edmonton has done. If Minnesota United FC comes into Clarke Stadium Sunday and earns a 1-1 road draw, it will mark the Eddies’ sixth 1-1 draw in a row.
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3

Strikers coaches get a game each, but no additional penalties after their brushes with Edmonton police (UPDATED with comments from Bill Peterson)

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ coach Gunter Kronsteiner and goalkeeper coach Ricardo Lopes will miss this Saturday’s match against the New York Cosmos. Each will pay a US$250 fine.

The one-game suspensions are automatic for sendings-off. But there will be no additional penalties handed to the coaches in the wake of their controversial departures from Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium last Sunday. The coaches came on the field, as did sub Walter Restrepo, and all were sent off. Police were called in to remove the coaches from the field of play.

NASL commissioner Bill Peterson said there was no conclusive evidence to prove the coaches deserved heavier punishments. But he also admitted that NASL deserves to take a large share of the blame for a series of miscommunications and “procedural errors” that led to the escalation of the situation.

“In the case of the sendings off of the two players and the coach, we could not conclusively see evidence of the things that may or may not have happened,” said Peterson.

But the commissioner said the incidents will have the NASL governors debating additions to the rulebook ahead of the 2014 season, especially in regards to to conduct of players or coaches who have been sent off.

Kronsteiner and Lopes were sent off by referee Alain Ruch after they protested a decision to allow FC Edmonton to re-take a free kick. The Eddies scored on the ensuing attempt. (CLICK HERE FOR RECAP)
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1

NASL needs to be public and transparent in how it deals with the fallout from Strikers-FCE match

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Gunter Kronsteiner escorted out of Clarke Stadium by the Edmonton Police Service. PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Great leaders can find ways to turn crisis into opportunity.

The North American Soccer League has a mini-crisis on its hands at the moment. And, in the coming days, how the NASL handles the fallout from Sunday’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers/FC Edmonton match can either go a long way to building the credibility of the league or entrenching the image of North American soccer outside of MLS as rudderless.

NASL has made great strides over the last year. It will add three clubs in 2013 and two more in 2014. League commissioner Bill Peterson dealt with the Puerto Rico Islanders situation as well as he could, recently informing the financially troubled club that the waiting time was over, and that if it wanted to come back to the league it would now have to go through an expansion process.(CLICK HERE)

But the one area where NASL has got the media that follows it and, more importantly, its supporters, scratching their heads is discipline.

At the end of every week, MLS sends out a disciplinary report, explaining why certain players have been censured and why some have had their punishments reduced. There are video links to the plays in question. Reasons are given for the Disciplinary Committee’s decisions. In NASL, there is no public discussion of suspensions, at least not coming from the league offices in Florida. Case in point: In the first week of September, a fight became an ugly punctuation mark to the match between the San Antonio Scorpions and Minnesota United FC. The antagonist in this case: Canadian midfielder Kevin Harmse.
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12

VIDEO: Fort Lauderdale Strikers escorted out of Clarke Stadium by Edmonton police (EXPIRED)

Before the match, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller shared a laugh with Strikers' coach Gunter Kronsteiner PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

Before the match, FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller shared a laugh with Strikers’ coach Gunter Kronsteiner PHOTO: TONY LEWIS/FC EDMONTON

(Ed. NOTE. Our copyright window for using the video has expired: To see the match, please go to NASL.com where archived games are available.)

The story is already one of the biggest in The11.ca‘s history.

On Sunday, Fort Lauderdale coach Gunter Kronsteiner and goalkeeping coach Ricardo Lopes were escorted out of Clarke Stadium by Edmonton Police, as the Strikers played the Eddies to a 1-1 draw.

Now, we have a video mintagemontage, courtesy of the M31 Design Group — which produced the broadcast that aired Sunday on Sportsnet 360 — of the incidents. They show the coaches’ unhappiness over FC Edmonton’s Lance Laing being allowed to re-take a free kick that led to a goal. It shows the coaches coming onto the field of play to protest, and then police were required to remove them. It shows Lopes on the cellphone (and it was clear to us in the booth that he was in contact with the bench), a confrontation between Kronsteiner and FC Edmonton general manager Rod Proudfoot and, finally, the removal of the Fort Lauderdale coaches from the stadium.

20130915-_MG_4739-XLLet’s be clear. Suspended or ejected coaches trying to manage their teams via cellphone is not new. It’s been done before. But what was odd about this was how blatant and obvious the pair of coaches were about it. Usually, the coaches will go away to a secluded spot and get on the phone. Kronsteiner and Lopes were doing it in the stands, just two rows down from the broadcast area, and in middle of FCE supporters who were calling them out because it was obvious they were breaking the rules. This looks more like a case of a coaching staff flouting the rules than simply trying to break them.

NASL stated today that there wouldn’t be any comment Monday, and that the teams would be informed of any disciplinary decisions coming out of this.

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