Article by Doak Gips
Welcome all to your new weekly NASL recap! I'll be here keeping you informed of what's going on in the lower league and who's been making an impact at that level. You probably will recognize a lot of names coming in as a whole lot of NASL guys have played at the MLS level at some point and usually jump back and forth between both. Enough rambling, to the recaps!
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. FC Edmonton
In front of 4,743 fans in attendance, FC Edmonton wrangled a 2-0 win away from home at Silverbacks park against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Edmonton came in looking to recover from their loss to MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps in the Amway Canadian Championship, and started off strong by scoring in the 14th minute with some picturesque passing through the box. The play started from a free kick just inside the midline, followed by a quick one-two between Ilja Van Leerdam and Michael Cox, with Cox finishing it off. The Silverbacks had a great counter going in the 40th minute, but Reinaldo Navia looked to be sleeping offsides and killed the counter. One of Atlanta's best chances came through in the 58th minute, when Danilo Turcios was released on a great through ball, but couldn't beat the one on one with the goalkeeper. Edmonton finished up the game with a header flick from Craig Hill to a streaking Van Leerdam, who crushed the ball into the back of the net. With the win, Edmonton moves to 2-1-3 on the year, while Atlanta, still unable to find a win, drops to 0-4-2.
Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The Puerto Rico Islanders downed the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-0, in front 1,060 fans in attendance at the Bayamon Soccer Complex in Puerto Rico. The Islanders peppered the Strikers goal in the first half with 10 shots, but it wasn't until stoppage time in the first half that David Foley was able to smash one home after a nice through ball from Greg Richardson. Early the in the 2nd half the Strikers tried to catch the Islanders on their back foot, but just couldn't quite get there, as Scott Lorenz hit a volley into the side netting. This would prove costly as the Islanders made them pay in the 51st minute, from what I'll call an assist-shot from Justin Fojo that landed right at the feet of Hector Ramos, who promptly slotted it home across goal. The Strikers Mark Anderson had one last chance to get one back, but a diving save by Islanders Goalkeeper Richard Martin kept the shutout alive. Puerto Rico stays on top of the NASL with a record of 4-1-1, while Fort Lauderdale drops to 4th with a record of 2-3-2.
On a side note to Islanders commentator Gabby Acevedo, please, always and forever, continue to call the penalty box, the “hot zone”. I need more of that in my life.
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. San Antonio Scorpions
Down in Florida at Al Lang Stadium, the San Antonio Scorpions stole three points, as they scored a goal in the second half of stoppage time to take the win, and sent the 3,166 in attendance home with a sad face. With a dormant first half from both teams, Pablo Campos was able to score the first goal for the Scorpions from a nice little flick up over the defense from Hans Dennisen. The lead didn't last long though, as less than five minutes later the Rowdies retaliated rambunctiously (See what happened there?). The ball was plunked around the hot zone(Stealing it. Don't care.), landed at Daniel Antoniuk's feet, who slammed it passed Daryl Sattler. The game looked to be headed for a draw, until the final seconds of stoppage, when Esteban Bayona fired a shot across goal that Rowdies Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella could only deflect right to Campos, who cleaned it up for the brace. Campos also claimed NASL offensive player of the week honors for his two goal performance. The Scorpions have now won three straight, and sit at 3-2-1, while the Rowdies drop to 2-2-3 on the year.
Minnesota Stars FC vs. Carolina Railhawks
Finally, in Minnesota, the Stars kept the Railhawks at the bottom of the league, by defeating them 2-1 with 2,168 in attendance. Minnesota took the lead in the 16th minute, as Amani Walker received an over the top ball from Kentaro Takada(This Guy), eluded the goalkeeper, and the defense, and took an early lead for Minnesota. The Railhawks nearly drew it up less than a minute later, but the Stars Goalkeeper made a fantastic point-blank save to keep the Stars up. The Stars Kevin Venegas decided to take matters into his own hands with the sure fire goal of the week from about 25 yards out to make it 2-0 Stars. Describing it doesn't do this goal justice, so here's a link to watch it for yourself. The Railhawks got one back as Austin Da Luz put away a goal in stoppage, but the Railhawks simply ran out of time. The Railhawks stay in the cellar at 0-4-4, while the win moved unbeaten Minnesota into 2nd place with a record of 3-3-0.
This upcoming week, the Silverbacks play the Islanders in the only midweek game this week, while the Scorpions take on Edmonton, the Strikers face the Stars, the Silverbacks play the Rowdies, and the Islanders take on the Railhawks.