Week 5 in the NASL was drawriffic! Three matches, ten goals, three draws, and a table that remains congested at the top.
Minnesota United 2-2 Carolina RailHawks
The battle for first was a thrilling draw, but Carolina will be happy with the point away from home. Their 41′ goal on a Jordan Graye header gave them the lead at the break, but Minnesota came roaring back with a fine run and goal from Etienne Barbarra at 58′, followed by a penalty (again from Barbarra) at 65′. Carolina left it late, but Enzo Martinez hit a rocket from 25 yards at 84′ to save a point for the RailHawks.
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-1 FC Edmonton
The Rowdies got a good start at 16′ when Luke Mullholland was dramatically tripped in the box while 1-on-1 with keeper Lance Parker; Georgi Hristov converted the penalty for the early home lead. But Edmonton answered on 36′. A Robert Garrett cross was headed on by Daryl Fordyce, and Shaun Saiko responded quickest to take a touch and fire home the nicely worked goal. Edmonton will be glad to take a road point from the league co-leaders, and Tampa Bay will be disappointed to miss a great chance to gain an advantage over Minnesota and Carolina.
San Antonio Scorpions 2-2 Atlanta Silverbacks
Atlanta drew first blood at 5′ with a nicely worked goal by Richie Menjivar off a beautifully weighted Danny Barrera pass from the D to split the defense. But San Antonio brought the home fans some love, finally scoring their first goal of the season at 20′ through a low near-post cross from Javier Saavedra followed by a fine flick from Hans Denissen.
San Antonio got a second goal at 28′, thanks to a low bouncing shot from Edin Husic that skipped past three Silverback defenders and an unsighted keeper Eric Ati. But Atlanta responded at 30′ with a Pedro Mendes goal off a beautifully chipped pass from Danny Barrera. Honors even, and while Atlanta will welcome the away point, San Antonio fans will be glad to see the goals start to arrive.
Tale of the Table
Three draws mean not much change to the table. Minnesota has a tight lead, due to away goal difference – the fourth tiebreaker. Atlanta’s still just a point behind, and Edmonton’s quality away draw pulls them closer to the leaders.
|Minnesota United FC||4||2||2||0||3||8|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||5||2||2||1||2||8|
|San Antonio Scorpions||4||0||2||2||-3||2|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||4||0||1||3||-5||1|
Sat 11 May: San Antonio at Carolina; Minnesota at Fort Lauderdale
Sun 12 May: Atlanta at Edmonton
(bye for Tampa Bay)
Tampa will have to watch Minnesota and Carolina try to stake their claim to the top of the table. Carolina’s home game might give them the advantage, but Fort Lauderdale has yet to win a game, so Minnesota should plan on a win too. Both could be interesting games, but I’m most curious about Atlanta’s visit to Edmonton, which could split the league in two — or throw another team into the logjam at the top.