Georgi Hristov compiled the first hat trick in Rowdies modern-day NASL history as Tampa Bay pounded the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 4-1 in the Florida Derby at Central Broward Stadium on Saturday night. The Strikers had their seven-game unbeaten streak snapped and saw the Rowdies, who swept the season series, move ahead of them in the Coastal Cup standings by two points.
Fort Lauderdale(4-6-5) started off quickly and scored during the fourth minute of play. Kleberson made a square pass to the middle and Ramon Nunez put in the ball from five yards away.
Tampa Bay(5-6-4) evened the contest in the 15th minute when Joe Cole placed a crossing pass for Hristov to make a sliding kick in the middle of the field from eight yards out.
The Rowdies, who improved their undefeated streak to five games, moved out to their first lead of the game at the 37th minute as Tommy Heinemann blasted a shot from long range. Hristov added to the 3-1 margin during the 43rd minute for a comfortable lead by halftime.
There was just one goal between both clubs in the second half of the contest. That honor went to Hristov as he nailed his third goal of game during the 82nd minute on a ten-yard shot.