FORT LAUDERDALE — The Rowdies clinched a spot in the NASL playoffs Saturday night with a 3-0 win over Fort Lauderdale at Lockhart Stadium.
Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Attinella picked up his ninth shutout of the season and the 14th of his career. The former USF and Countryside standout came into the game leading the league with 97 saves, and had four Saturday.
The Rowdies (11-7-6) opened the scoring in the 78th minute after substitute Raphael Cox deflected defender Takuya Yamada's header into the net past goalie Matt Glaeser. It was Cox's first goal since joining the Rowdies last month.
The deflection by Cox, who entered in the 55th minute, caught Glaeser offguard.
Tampa Bay defender Frankie Sanfilippo made it 2-0 in the 82nd minute.
Sanfilippo entered the 18-yard box after an individual run through the defense of the Strikers (9-9-7), and his shot trickled by Glaeser for his second goal of the year.
Forward Carl Cort, who also joined the team last month, scored in the 90th minute. Forward Mike Ambersley placed a through ball to Cort, who was left one-on-one with Glaeser. His initial shot was blocked, but Cort scored off the rebound for his first goal in the NASL.
In the 19th minute, Fort Lauderdale midfielder Michael Tetteh received a red card after being sent off for retaliation and violent conduct.
The Rowdies are undefeated in 11 of the 12 meetings against the Strikers since 2010.
The Rowdies return to action Saturday when they host Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg.