Thursday, September 10, 2009

20 Years, Can You Believe It?

It's been 20 somewhat interesting years since the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have won a championship. It was actually their only championship, but it was a championship none the less. For a franchise that could call George Best and Nene Cubillas their own, it was the scrappy hardworking Strikers from 1989 that did the business, besting the San Diego Nomads in a cross country final.

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of that championship and although there were no ticker tape or parades, we did have an enormous amount of soccer being played around the world and emotions were either bolstered or utterly destroyed.

I'd like to thank FIFA for their Match Centre (pictured above) for keeping me up to the minute while I was at work. Cameroon's victory early in the day started it all off and by 2pm I had the luxury of a little espn360 for some interesting European matches.

Into the night came the games most important to me, although I must say Bahrain's 94th minute equalizer at Saudi Arabia might have been the most intriguing moment of the day - silencing King Fahd International Stadium and sending Bahrain to their second straight play-off to make the world cup. This time out they face New Zealand.

In any case, the Americas had plenty of action as USA and Mexico kept winning to stay atop their group and hopefully avoid a play-off of their own against South America's 5th ranked team.

In South America, Maradona continued to soil whatever he had left of his reputation by putting Argentina in more peril than ever before. Brazil and Paraguay stay atop the standings.

With two games to go, the pure excitement of World Cup Soccer is reaching the ever so famous 'fever pitch'. Small sidenote, the USA and South Africa are leading in ticket sales for the World Cup, we must have some soccer fans in this country.

But back to the Strikers. Sorry we couldn't raise a glass to commemorate you. Instead, we watched soccer from around the world unfold. In a week or so's time, a former Striker will take the US -20 to Egypt for the Youth World Cup. Good luck Thomas Rongen.

Here's to you 1989 Fort Lauderdale Strikers - we love you dearly.

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