SAN JOSE — The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers scored three consecutive second-half goals and defeated the San Diego Nomads, 3-1, in the first National Pro Soccer Championship game Saturday night at Spartan Stadium.
The match was the first outdoor national professional championship game since the North American Soccer League folded in 1985. The Nomads were representing the nine-team Western Soccer League, the Strikers the East Coast's American Soccer League.
A crowd of 8,632 watched the teams play to a scoreless first half before the Strikers broke the 90-minute match open.
After spotting the Nomads a 1-0 lead at 73:13 on a goal by forward Jerome Watson, the Strikers surged offensively, much as they had done all season. Eric Eichmann, a U.S. national team player and hero in the United States' recent 1-0 victory over Soviet power Dnepr, scored the tying goal on an assist by Ricardo Alonso just 1:01 after Watson's goal.
Troy Edwards put the Strikers ahead, 2-1 with his first goal of the season at 84:40, assisted by Marcelo Carrera and Pedro Magallanes.
Ft. Lauderdale put the Nomads away when Carrera, his team's offensive leader throughout the match, drove a shot into the back of the net at 89:00.
The goaltenders dominated the first half. Ft. Lauderdale's 14-year U.S. professional Arnie Mausser and San Diego's Jeff Duback, of the U.S. national team, combined for 14 saves.
Mausser, an imposing force at 6-feet-4, 200 pounds, twice stopped San Diego forward Paul Wright in one-on-one situations.