Fort Lauderdale CF Team Celebration 8.19.20

Fort Lauderdale CF earned a 3-2 victory over reigning USL League One Champions North Texas SC at Inter Miami CF Stadium, extending the Club’s unbeaten run to three matches. The team was led to victory by a goal from 15-year-old winger Felipe Valencia, a brace from USL League One leading scorer Ricky Lopez-Espin and two assists from Eduardo Sosa. Valencia’s goal also made history, making him the youngest ever goalscorer at any USL level at 15 years, five months, and 18 days.


Fort Lauderdale entered the match with the same starting XI as the previous match for the first time this season. The team opened the scoring in the 18th minute when good pressing from Lopez-Espin and Sosa forced a turnover by North Texas SC in the final third. The pair would then combine to create the goal as Sosa recovered possession and played a quick pass to Lopez-Espin at the top of the box, who shaped and curled a left-footed shot off the post and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.


Fort Lauderdale doubled its advantage in the 37th minute, once again from an incisive combination between Sosa and Lopez-Espin. Blaine Ferri played a ball forward to Sosa near the top left corner of the box where he then took the ball and drove past the defender, turning him inside out and delivering a driven low ball across the face of goal. Lopez-Espin made the run at the far post and struck into the back of the net, registering his second goal of the match and fifth of the season, making him the league’s leading scorer.


The reigning champions struck back before the first half was over, when Dylan Castanheira was called for a foul on Ronaldo Damus in the box in the 38th minute. Oscar Romero then stepped up to the spot and scored to make it 2-1 entering halftime.


Fort Lauderdale entered the second half with a fresh look, making one change as Christian Lue Young came on for left back Sami Guediri.


It wasn’t long into the second half before Fort Lauderdale regained its two-goal advantage. In the 56th minute Sosa glided past a few defenders and struck a powerful shot that was knocked away. Valencia recovered possession after a scramble in the box and calmly slid a shot past the keeper for his first professional goal and a 3-1 lead. 


Fort Lauderdale made a double change in the 70th minute, bringing on Andres Cardenas for goal-scorer Valencia and Fancisco Raggio for Ferri.


North Texas again hit back in the 75th minute with a goal from Alisson dos Santos to make it 3-2 after a free kick from distance was delivered into the box and redirected to his feet. 


Fort Lauderdale made its fourth change in the 80th minute when 16-year-old forward Dairon Reyes came on for Lopez-Espin. The fifth and final change came in the first minute of second-half added time when Joshua Saavedra came on for Sosa. From there, the team held onto its lead until the final whistle, securing a 3-2 victory.


The team will return to action on Saturday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET when it travels to face Greenville Triumph SC.