Anyone who visited Lockhart Stadium on Saturday for the debut of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2011 version) will have been impressed by what they saw. Huge lines of hundreds of people queuing up to buy tickets. A wonderful atmosphere around the ground with a record 6,402 in attendance. Tons of soccer fans wearing red and yellow bumblebee shirts. Soccer is finally back in South Florida.
However, one thing was missing and that was the product on the field. While the Strikers weren’t terrible, they were prevented from scoring more goals in the eventual 2-1 loss to Edmonton after goalkeeper Rein Baart made several crucial saves. Having said that, the Strikers team felt like they lacked the passion and creativity needed to satisfy the large attendance.
That leads me to Fort Lauderdale Strikers coach Daryl Shore. The former Chicago Fire assistant coach joined Miami FC in July. Since then, Miami FC (now Fort Lauderdale Strikers) have played 14 league games. Shore’s winning percentage is a paltry 35%. I realize that the Strikers have only played one game this season but unless the team performance changes this Friday, the owners of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers will jeopardize all of the hard work they’ve done to bring people to Lockhart if the ultimate product is inadequate.
Put Daryl Shore in a police line-up and nine out of 10 Strikers fans wouldn’t be able to recognize him. What the Strikers need is someone who is a personality and a passionate soccer coach who can get the most out of his team. What the Fort Lauderdale Strikers need is Ray Hudson, a Strikers legend who still lives in South Florida. If Traffic Sports wants to continue bringing in large crowds and putting on entertaining (and winning) soccer, Ray Hudson is the man to do it.
Meanwhile, the next home game for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers is this Friday against NSC Minnesota Stars at 8:30pm.