Hector Marinaro scored eight minutes into overtime as the Minnesota Strikers beat the Lazers, 6-5, Saturday night before a Forum crowd of 4,418, but according to Lazer Coach Keith Tozer, it's only a matter of time before the team he has rebuilt lives up to his expectations.
"This is still like the preseason for us," Tozer said. "These guys have only been together for a short time."
In all, Tozer has added seven new players, the latest being Thompson Usiyan, who was acquired from Minnesota for Greg Ion and a third-round draft pick minutes before the trading deadline midnight Friday.
Usiyan proved to be a worthwhile acquisition as he scored two goals in the losing cause.
Said Tozer: "Now I'm happy with the players I have."
The Strikers (21-18) are happy with the win, their second in their last six games.
The teams matched goals throughout the game before Marinaro, who also scored to send the game into overtime, took a well-timed pass from David Byrne and beat Lazer goalkeeper Tim Harris, putting the Strikers two games ahead of the Chicago Sting and firmly into playoff contention.
The Lazers, all but mathematically out of the playoffs, fell to 9-29.
Byrne, who missed the last 28 games with a broken foot, put Minnesota up, 1-0, when he raced down the right side unmarked, took a pass from Ray Hudson and beat Harris 5:59 into the first quarter. Stuart Lee's goal at 7:53 evened it at 1-1.