Friday, June 8, 2012

NASL Rewind: Week 9


Article by Doak Gips


I think we all learned a lesson this past week. An MLS side putting out a side of reserves against an NASL or USL-PRO team putting out its starters, are probably going to get beat. Everyone wanted to act like this was some big surprise, but when you started looking at the games and the rosters, it honestly wasn’t all that surprising. If I had to pick another NASL team to move themselves onto the Quarterfinals, it would have to be San Antonio, who gets the USL-PRO Charlotte Eagles, after they beat FC Dallas 2-0 in the 3rd round.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Two NASL teams that lost against MLS competition earlier in the week looked for a bit of redemption, but only Fort Lauderdale was able to capitalize, beating the Rowdies 3-1 at Lockhart Stadium. It was Tampa Bay striking first though, with Luke Mulholland putting away a nice volley. But that was about all the Rowdies could do, as the Strikers took over in the 2nd half. Abe Lincoln..err..Thompson put away the penalty to draw the game, and before the Rowdies could even think about getting back in front, the Strikers had beat them to it. Well specifically, Mark Anderson. You see, Mark Anderson put in something serious here with a looping shot off a short corner. Here's a few good replay angles on it. Video . That's a goal of the week pretty much anywhere. The Strikers 3rd scorer, Walter Restrepo, who put some fantastic moves to get past Rowdies goalkeeper Jeff Antinella, finished the game off in stoppage time for the Strikers.



Carolina Railhawks vs. Puerto Rico Islanders

The Railhawks proved that winning is a trend, allowed me to work in a sports cliché, and also beat the Puerto Rico Islanders 2-1 at WakeMed Soccer Park in front of 3,568 people. After thoroughly outplaying the Los Angeles Galaxy(minus some of their planets) and getting a 2-1 result in the Open Cup, the Railhawks came into this game looking for their first NASL win against the top-o-the-table Islanders. The Railhawks opened the scoring with an absolutely stunning...just kidding. Puerto Rico messed this one up pretty bad as a free kick bounced right up to an Islanders defender, who managed to wrong foot his own keeper and send it into the back of the net. Puerto Rico though, as they have all season, fought back and brought the score level. This goal was pretty, as the Islanders used some quick passing that might make Toronto jealous, finished off nicely with a give and go from Johnathon Fana to Jay Needham. Carolina was not to be denied its first three points of the season though as Ty Shipalane chipped Goalkeeper Richard Martin in the 88th minute to seal the win for 'Hawks.

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Minnesota Stars

With Puerto Rico losing against Carolina, the winner of this game would leapfrog the Islanders and take first place in the NASL. Unfortunately for both teams, neither could muster the win, or even a goal for that matter, and drew 0-0 in front of 8,639 at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio. The game wasn't without chances though, as Minnesota took the initial barrage in the first half, getting off 6 shots, to San Antonio's measly 2. But the Scorpions recovered and in the 88th minute, laid out a full on assault on the Stars and their 'Keeper, Matthew Van Oekel. Somehow, someway the Stars keeper put on a clinic on how to ice a game for a team. Within in the last 5 minutes of the game, Van Oekel saved 5 Scorpions shots on goal, each one more ridiculous than the last. His heroics kept the Stars undefeated on the season.

FC Edmonton vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

The Silverbacks wanted to follow the Railhawks and get their first win of the season, but they had to get through Edmonton to do it. And get through them they did, as they beat the Eddies in Edmonton with 2,521 in attendance. The Silverbacks wasted no time, as a foul just outside the 18' led to a beauty of a goal from Ciaran O'Brien, who left Eddie's keeper Lance Parker flat-flooted on a free kick. The Silverbacks followed that up quickly with a flick header from Shane Moroney. If we've learned one thing throughout this season, it's that Shaun Saiko is very good, and he did it again with a low cross into the box, which was easily finished off by Kevin Hatchi. Edmonton put up a ton of pressure after the Hatchi goal, getting off 9 shots, but could not find the equalizer.

Unfortunately for all involved, all NASL teams lost out in the US Open Cup this week. San Antonio lost 2-1 to Charlotte in added Extra Time. The Railhawks just didn't have enough California killer in them, as they lost 2-1 to Chivas, and San Jose defeated Minnesota 1-0. With the exception of Puerto Rico, all NASL teams return to a regular NASL schedule now. Coming up this week, Carolina takes on Minnesota, Puerto Rico takes on Tampa Bay, San Antonio faces Atlanta, and Edmonton goes up against Fort Lauderdale.

NASL Table
Team Name
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
Puerto Rico Islanders
9
5
2
2
10
17
Minnesota Stars FC
9
4
5
0
6
17
San Antonio Scorpions
9
4
4
1
2
16
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
10
3
4
3
-2
13
Tampa Bay Rowdies
10
3
3
4
-2
12
FC Edmonton
9
2
2
5
-1
8
Carolina RailHawks
10
1
5
4
-6
8
Atlanta Silverbacks
10
1
5
4
-7
8


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