Week #21 NASL Players of the Week: Abe Thompson & Akira Fitzgerald
MIAMI, Fla. (Aug. 27, 2012) – The NASL has named Fort Lauderdale Strikers forward Abe Thompson Offensive Player of the Week. The award is the first of the season for the veteran Striker who scored both goals in Fort Lauderdale’s 2-1 win against the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday at Lockhart Stadium.
“For Abe to be able to step up and score two against a tough San Antonio team is a well-deserved award for him and our team,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “You like for your leaders to step up and show confidence, and to put that penalty kick away showed great leadership on his part.”
Thompson’s first score came from the penalty spot after a Scorpions’ hand ball in the box. His game-winning goal came in the 69th minute when Thompson collected a loose ball, dribbled into the top of the penalty box and fired a shot which the goalkeeper deflected, but still had enough momentum to find the back of the net. Thompson now has three goals on the season to go with his four assists.
The two goals from Thompson move him into second place all-time on the Strikers’ goal scoring list. Thompson’s 16 career goals passes Alex Afonso and puts him just two goals behind Brazilian legend Romario for the all-time lead. Thompson is in his third season with the Strikers after spending five seasons in the MLS. He played four seasons with FC Dallas, appearing in 69 games while scoring 14 goals and 11 assists. He also spent time with the Kansas City Wizards and Houston Dynamo.
The North American Soccer League announced that RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald has earned Defensive Player of the Week honors. Fitzgerald started his second consecutive NASL match Saturday night in Atlanta. The young goalkeeper showed great form and composure to earn his first NASL shutout. His strong play in goal gave the RailHawks three valuable points on the road as teams fight for playoff position.
Fitzgerald made three critical second half saves and helped lead the RailHawks defense to their first shutout in the month of August. In his second season, Fitzgerald has started two NASL games and one U.S. Open Cup match. Saturday’s shutout was his second of the season with the first coming in a 6-0 rout of PSA Elite in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The 25-year old goalkeeper played college soccer at Wake Forest University alongside current RailHawks teammates Austin Da Luz and Zack Schilawski. He was part of the 2007 NCAA National Champions and throughout his career he was regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the ACC. He played in two summer sessions with the RailHawks U23’s.