NOTE: Views on this blog post represent those of Miami Ultras member Kyle Kaly. Please note the Strikers / Miami FC line up is not the actual team that will be playing the 2011 NASL season.
It was a warm, sunny day today at Ft Lauderdale Stadium when the U-20 USMNT played a scrimmage against our Strikers. It was all around an odd setting for a match such as this, but it was an interesting game none the less.
The U-20 came out with a full 25 man roster against a Strikers scrimmage team wearing all black Soccer Locker sponsored kit. With planes flying in the background and construction equipment in the background, it didnt look like it was a serious setting for such a big match. On the U-20 side, the only notable name was Gale Agbossoumonde, on the Strikers side were Chris Gbandi, Martin Nunez, and Bryan Arguez The first half was pretty one sided. Bryan Arguez came out looking like David Beckham. He was fast, accurate, and had the U-20's number. Chris Gbandi was a force in the backfield as always. Martin Nunez was aggressive, decently quick, and ready to take out anyone who got in his path. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. The U-20 had a pretty average half with no real standouts. Gale looked moderately out of form, but was able to make a few key stops. The rest of the U-20 was able to make the ball up pitch, but was unable to make anything happen. At the break, the score was nil-nil.
The second half showed a new squad of U-20 and only a few new Strikers. The Strikers only real standout from the bench was a kid named David Santamaria Jr. He was a participant at the Traffic combine back in October, but little was heard about him since. His presence on the field was undeniable. He was quick, was able to get the ball past defenders and midfielders alike, and has shot power unparalleled by any former Miami FC player. He knew what he needed to do on the field like a veteran striker, only he was a 20 year old rookie with no experience. If he can continue to perform like this, a spot on the Strikers is imminent. Nunez, Arguez, and Gbandi remained strong for the rest of the match, but the game was still scoreless. The only real scoring opportunity for either team was a Strikers penalty kick in the 72nd minute that the keeper guessed correct and punched out of harm's way. Overall, the match was pretty even and the score definitely reflected that with a 0-0 final score.
The squad that played today will more than likely not be a reflection of our 2011 Strikers, but it showed a glimpse of hope that we may be able to pull off a successful season. Today was indeed a great day to be a Striker Liker.