Injury and Suspensions Prove a Rough Week for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The week started out well for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers after a home win against visiting Atlanta on the previous Saturday and word on Monday from the NASL front office that forward Andy Herron had received NASL Offensive Player of the Week honors. Herron was awarded the honor for his one-goal performance in leading his team to a 1-0 victory over the Carolina RailHawks. But as the British say, things then went pear shaped, and quickly.
In Tuesday’s training session, Walter Restrepo, who had been an important part of the Strikers midfield this season, went down with a bad injury with no contact whatsoever. On Wednesday the worst was confirmed and the team put out a press release stating that the midfielder had been lost for the remainder of the season to an ACL tear.
Restrepo is currently tied for the NASL lead in assists on the season with eight. He’s also third on the team with six goals.
“It’s very disappointing, because the way the injury happened was no one’s fault and unexpected,” said Restrepo through an interpreter.
“Losing a player like Walter is a huge blow to the team, no question,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “He is a Best XI player in our league.”
Then on Thursday the Strikers received word that the league had slapped a 2-match suspension on Herron for a little extracurricular activity in that same match that he had been awarded Offensive Player of the Week.
According to the press release, the league’s disciplinary committee reviewed the play after a request from the Carolina RailHawks. The league spoke with the match officials, players and teams involved before issuing its decision. The infraction, which went unnoticed by the referee, seems to have happened while both teams where vying for position on a corner kick. Herron went up to a RailHawks defender from behind and apparently head butted him and then dropped to the turf himself as if injured. This can all be seen at the one hour and 26 minute mark of part one of the NASL video which you can see here.
“While we don’t agree with the multiple games the league has handed down, we also don’t condone Andy’s actions, and he has to respond better when he’s being attacked verbally,” said Shore. “Now other guys will have to step up in Andy’s absence so we can get good results these next two games.”
Herron will miss both the away game against Puerto Rico today and the Strikers’ next home game against San Antonio.
The Strikers also announced they have released Brazilian-American forward Halili Nagime who saw very little action so far this season.