Welcome back! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but some family things have interfered with my posting schedule. Still, I wanted to get in a quick NASL update before the weekend’s games. Things are coming to a head for the 2013 Spring season, and we’re really seeing things sort themselves out. Oh, and we had some US Open Cup action in the interim, too, and that had some mixed results for the NASL sides.
Right, so let’s look at Week 10 first.
NASL Week 10
Carolina RailHawks 2-1 Tampa Bay Rowdies: 87 minutes of tension, followed by the wildest finish this year in the NASL. The Rowdies went down a man at 37′, but the game remained scoreless until 87′ when Devin Del Do got the goal to give Tampa Bay the lead. But Carolina struck back in stoppage time with goals from Cesar Elizondo and Tiyi Shipalane to get the dramatic win in front of the home crowd.
Atlanta Silverbacks 1-1 FC Edmonton: The Eddies did quite well to get a draw in Atlanta, especially given that midfielder Nurse got his second yellow card at 31′ to leave them a man down for most of the match. Atlanta took the lead at 60′ through Brad Stisser, but Neil Hlavaty equalized at 70′, and Edmonton were able to hang on.
Minnesota United 2-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers: Minnesota took the home win in their last match at the Metrodome. The Strikers took the lead at 9′ through Darnell King, but Pablo Campos tied the match with a penalty at 55′, and then won the game in stoppage time with a header off a Simone Bracallelo cross.
Week 10 Standings: The dramatic Carolina win took them to the top of the table. Atlanta’s draw left them a point behind, tied with victorious Minnesota.
US Open Cup, Round 4
The fourth round of the US Open Cup saw some powerful play from the lower leagues, including a 0-1 road upset for Orlando City SC over Sporting Kansas City, and the Charleston Battery taking Real Salt Lake to extra time before the MLS side could prevail. The NASL did all right too, with one win and one loss over their big-league brothers.
Carolina RailHawks 3-1 Chivas USA: The RailHawks hosted a Chivas USA team in disarray, and the long trip across the country proved too much for the Los Angeles team. Carolina took the early lead at 13′ through Tiyi Shipalane, but Vilchez Soto tied things up for Chivas at 57′. Regulation time finished all-even, but extra time was all about Carolina. Cesar Elizondo scored at 92′ and Brian Ackley at 98′ to give the RailHawks the insurmountable lead. Carolina will now travel to Salt Lake City to take on Real Salt Lake in the quarterfinals.
Portland Timbers 2-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies: Tampa Bay had the tougher task in traveling across the country to take on a red-hot Timbers team. Jeld-Wen Field is a tough place to play, and Tampa Bay still looked uneasy at 9′ when the Timbers got their first goal. Michael Nanchoff collected a loose ball on the edge of the box and found a perfectly curling volley to beat Diego Restrepo. Despite the setback, play was mostly going the Rowdies’ way, until 56′ when Jack Jewsbury got the clinching goal for Portland. Portland haven’t lost a match since March, so this was always going to be a tough game for Tampa, but despite the loss they never looked outmatched and they could fly home with heads held high.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0-1 Atlanta Silverbacks: Fort Lauderdale had a heartbreaking loss at home against Atlanta. Atlanta striker Danny Barrera was sent off at 63′, but the Strikers couldn’t make their man advantage tell, and Richie Menjivar scored a penalty for the Silverbacks in stoppage time to give all three points to the visitors.
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1-2 San Antonio Scorpions: San Antonio continued their late run of form with the away win over Tampa Bay. Blake Wagner opened the scoring at 37′ for the Scorpions, off an indirect free kick. Carl Cort tied the game for Tampa at 80′, but Hans Denissen scored at 88′ to give San Antonio the win.
FC Edmonton 1-1 Carolina RailHawks: Carolina had the long trip to Edmonton after their big win over Chivas, and maybe a draw was a decent enough result against the miserly Edmonton defense. The Eddies took the lead at 73′ through Michael Cox, but at 88′ Cesar Elizondo got his third goal in 8 days to equalize for Carolina.
Tale of the Table
With the week 10 loss, Fort Lauderdale is officially eliminated from Spring season contention. But with only 3 weeks left in the half-season — and only 2 matches for three teams — the picture is really starting to narrow for the league title.
|Minnesota United FC||9||4||2||3||1||14|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||10||3||3||4||0||12|
|San Antonio Scorpions||9||3||2||4||-2||11|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||10||2||2||6||-7||8|
Atlanta hold the pole position, but both Carolina and Minnesota have a good shot at stepping into contention. Tampa Bay, Edmonton, and San Antonio might not be technically eliminated, but any of the three would need a massive amount of luck to climb into the top spot.
Saturday 22 June: Minnesota at Carolina; Tampa Bay at Atlanta; Edmonton at San Antonio. (Bye for Fort Lauderdale)
The eliminated Strikers take the week off and let the rest battle. Minnesota at Carolina should be a great game as both sides look for three points to climb into contention. Tampa Bay will try to stay alive with a win over Atlanta, while the Silverbacks will prefer to keep their march to the title going strong with a home win. And both Edmonton and San Antonio will attempt to keep their slim hopes alive.
Things are coming to a head. Saturday night should have some fun soccer! Things are still rather hectic for me next week, but hopefully I can get the results blogged as we head to the final two weeks of the Spring Season.