All the NASL teams were in action on Saturday night. Aside from Tampa Bay’s 1-1 draw with Indy, the other four games all resulted in wins — though only one was for the home team. Cosmos and Minnesota United remain perfect atop the league, while five teams remain winless.
Recaps (with video!) after the break.
Ottawa Fury 1-2 Minnesota United FC
Ottawa held their inaugural match, hosting a sold-out crowd of 3,547 at Keith Harris Stadium. (This is the temporary home for the Fury, as their permanent home at TD Place Stadium won’t be ready until the Fall season.) Unfortunately for the home fans, a late (97′) goal from Minnesota’s Christian Ramierz sent them home disappointed with the 1-2 loss. The earlier goals came from Minnesota’s Miguel Ibarra at 36′ and Ottawa’s Vini Dantas at 50′.
Minnesota stays undefeated (by the skin of their teeth), while Ottawa falls to 0-0-2. The two teams are in second and ninth place respectively, kept out of the top and bottom respectively on goal differential thanks to last week’s 4-0 win for New York over Atlanta.
Atlanta Silverbacks 1-2 San Antonio Scorpions
Atlanta too had their home opener ruined with a 1-2 loss to San Antonio. Attendance at Silverback Park was a sold-out 5,000, but fans won’t be greatly comforted the home team’s second-half dominance. San Antonio took the lead through goals from Greg Janicki (34′) and Shaun Saiko (46′). Atlanta provided most of the attacking threat through the second half, but the Junior Sandoval goal at 82′ provided nothing but a late consolation.
San Antonio’s away win moves them to fifth on the table with three points, while Atlanta falls to the bottom, still without a point, and -5 on goal differential. If the Silverbacks continue their rocky start, questions will continue to build about the “virtual coach” plan with Eric Wynalda.
Carolina RailHawks 4-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The RailHawks put quite a beatdown on the Strikers in their home opener. Coming off the 1-1 draw in Indiana, and facing the loss of their top striker, it was natural to wonder about Carolina’s goalscoring capability. The opening day crowd of 4,007 saw evidence that there’s nothing to worry about.
Carolina opened the scoring at 27′. Cesar Elizondo dribbled into the box from the left, and Chris Nurse clipped his heels for a soft (but legitimate) penalty. Enzo Martinez stepped up for the PK and converted, sending Strikers keeper Oka Nikolov the wrong way. Fort Lauderdale exerted some pressure after the goal, forcing Akira Fitzgerald into a couple of saves, but Carolina doubled their advantage at 40′. A soft pass from Chavez on the center circle set Ty Shipalane free, and his nicely weighted pass found Zach Schilawski for a beautiful one-time finish.
Fort Lauderdale started the second half brightly, cutting the lead to 2-1 at 47′. A floated cross into the box bounced free right on the penalty spot, and Chris Nurse crafted a 360° spinning finish to confound Fitzgerald and cut the deficit. But the Strikers’ chase for the equalizer was their undoing, as Schilawski found Martinez for a goal at 72′, and then Elizondo slipped a ball through to Schilawski for a tight finish at 76′. Schilawski’s two-goal, one-assist performance netted him Player of the Week honors, and helped move Carolina up to third on the table, with four points.
FC Edmonton 0-1 New York Cosmos
Edmonton’s home opener was a disappointment for the 4,399 in attendance at Clarke Stadium, as the visiting Cosmos got the away win to remain atop the table.
Edmonton’s famously stingy defense was mostly up to the task, defending well against sustained New York pressure. But Cosmos got their breakthrough at 37′. Mads Stokkelien was able to break free to the endline and fire in a cross, which Sebastien Guenzatti redirected into the goal via a crafty backheel. Eddie goalkeeper John Smits had a good game to hold Cosmos to the lone goal, but the home side weren’t able to hold possession for long. Despite a few good later chances, Edmonton only had one shot on target.
Tale of the Table
|1||New York Cosmos||2||2||0||0||5||6|
|2||Minnesota United FC||2||2||0||0||3||6|
|4||Fort Lauderdale Strikers||2||1||0||1||-1||3|
|5||San Antonio Scorpions||2||1||0||1||-1||3|
|7||Tampa Bay Rowdies||2||0||2||0||0||2|
|9||Ottawa Fury FC||2||0||0||2||-3||0|
New York and Minnesota take a solid lead atop the table, while Carolina remain in close contact. The middle is fairly congested, but both Ottawa and Atlanta bring up the rear with two losses. (Combined with Thursday’s announcement of MLS expansion in Atlanta, the Silverbacks will be ready to close the books on April.)
Week 3 sees a full slate of five games on Saturday. Ottawa host an early 3PM game versus the RailHawks, while Minnesota and Edmonton will contest the Flyover Cup.
Saturday 26 April
- Ottawa Fury FC vs Carolina RailHawks (3:00PM EDT)
- New York Cosmos vs San Antonio Scorpions (7:00PM EDT)
- Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs Indy Eleven (7:30PM EDT)
- Tampa Bay Rowdies vs Atlanta Silverbacks (7:30PM EDT)
- Minnesota United FC vs FC Edmonton (8:00PM EDT)
Indy will see its first road game with a trip to Fort Lauderdale. Minnesota has their home opener, where they’ll try to maintain their perfect record; New York will do the same in Hempstead. Atlanta and Ottawa will have to get their first points away from home if they want to move up from the bottom of the table this week. No game stands out as more important than the others; with the season so young, everyone still has hopes for the Spring season title, and in any case points now also help chances for a playoff spot in November.
Of course, Eleven fans will get their first chance to see the team on the road. I’m not yet sure if this is one of the away games that will be broadcast on MyNDY-TV 23, but if not, you can also buy the NASL Live stream for $5 per month or $30 for the season.