FORT LAUDERDALE — At first, the signing of Kamil Contofalsky as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers goalkeeper could have been a questionable move.
Allowing five goals in his first two games with the team certainly wasn't an auspicious beginning for the 36-year old Slovakia native.
With that behind him, he has settled into the starting role for the Strikers. Contofalsky has played a big part in the team's four-game unbeaten streak (2-0-2), having allowed just one goal in his three starts. He has not allowed a goal in 263 consecutive minutes and looks to extend that streak when the Strikers (2-2-2) host the Atlanta Silverbacks (2-2-1) on Saturday at Lockhart Stadium.
"I imagined a different start that I had," Contofalsky said. "It was just a matter of time and I knew it.
"In the first two games we played teams that were really good. It wasn't that we did play so bad because we were aggressive. My last two games were different because we played better."
Contofalsky has a wealth of experience throughout his career that began with Slovakia in 1995 with AS Trenčín and later MFK Košice before moving to the Czech Republic in 1999 to join Prague-based side Bohemians 1905. He spent four seasons with the club and earned his first cap for the Slovakia national football team in 2002. Contofalsky had 34 caps for his country over the next seven years.
After playing for Russian powerhouse Zenit Saint Petersburg in 2003-09, Contofalsky had brief stints in Cyprus and Greece with AEL Limassol and Larissa. He returned to the Czech Republic in 2011 to become the starting goalkeeper for Slavia Prague, where he remained until the 2013-14 season.
"[Contofalsky] has played on a certain level and our team can benefit from that," Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner said. "He is very experienced and calm in the goal. He knows when to come out or stay on his line."
As for Contofalsky's streak, he will match the Strikers team record of 353 minutes set by Richard Sanchez in 2013 if he earns a shutout against Atlanta on Saturday. Should he get his third straight blank sheet, Contofalsky would tie the all-time Strikers record of three consecutive shutouts held by former Dutch International Jan Van Beveren in 1981, who did it two separate times that year.
The Strikers record is held by Mark Sanchez at 353 minutes, just six minutes short of the league record.
The league record for consecutive shutout minutes is held by Jeff Attinella, Tampa Bay Rowdies, with 359, including three complete-match shutouts from July 12 through Aug. 4, 2012.