Tuesday, June 19, 2012

NASL Week 11 Recap


Article by Doak Gips

That not so great iPhone picture above this paragraph is from my time in the upper-deck at BBVA Compass Stadium this past weekend, as the Dynamo defeated FC Dallas, 2-1. That stadium is really fantastic. They did a great job keeping all the noise in, and that stadium gets very loud. The crowd was raucous to say the least, but mostly cordial until the end. 

I'm in favor of good ole fashioned trash talk, I'm more a fan of clever trash talk, I'm not a fan of idiotic trash talk, which is sadly what became at the end, as it sounded like the whole stadium took up the chorus of “eff you Dallas”, but of course, replacing the 'eff' for the real word. C'mon soccer community, were better and smarter than that. And of course this wasn't indicative of everyone at the game, but it is a testament to how loud that stadium can truly get. You know where I haven't heard crappy trash talk though? NASL games. Frolic with me through the past weekend.

Carolina Railhawks vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

Alright, I'll admit it. After getting a good amount of their players taken by their former coach, and now Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie, I figured the Railhawks would be towards the bottom of the league. Early in the season, this prediction was spot on, as the Railhawks looked a mess, not winning their first NASL game until the first week of June. But their confidence grew tremendously after toppling the LA Galaxy in US Open Cup play the week before that win, and have kept that going, by beating the Silverbacks 2-0 in front of 6,000 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. 


Austin Da Luz sent a wonderful through ball to a streaking Zack Schilawski, who one-timed it right past Silverbacks 'keeper Daniel Illyes. Even though the Silverbacks had a total of 6 shots in the first and second halves, they couldn't find any answer for the Railhawks, who added a second goal in the late stages of the second half. Ty Shipalane was left with zero defenders picking him p, which made it easy to send it straight at substitute Brian Ackley, who slotted it home.

FC Edmonton vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

In a rematch of a game that was just played the week before, the home team won again, with the Strikers beating the Eddies 1-0 at Lockhart Stadium in front of 2,663 fans. There was a scare about halfway through the second half, as a rough challenge on Polo Morales led to him being strechered off, and actually taken to the hospital, with unfortunately no word on his condition as of this writing. The second half was being worked by, who else, Shaun Saiko, but couldn't find the goal or an assist this time around. The Strikers goal came off Walter Restrepo attacking towards the endline and sent in a powerful low cross to a waiting Andy Herron, who put the Strikers on-top for good.

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Puerto Rico Islanders

I'm not sure how many more weeks I get to use the phrase “The Scorpions are for real”. You get the point. They get the point. I'm tired of typing it. These guys are clearly for real, and after a short learning period, have simply taken over the NASL. So this is the last week I'll use that, as they went back and made up for their home opening 4-0 loss, by beating the Puerto Rico Islanders 2-0 in front of 1,551 at Bayamon Soccer Complex. The first goal was setup by a shot from distance by Walter Ramirez, which was lazily deflected from Richard Martin to a waiting Esteban Bayona, who promptly cleaned up the mess. 


Ramirez though had decided he was done playing for the day, and sent his team a man down for the rest of the match in the 42nd minute, receiving his second yellow on the day. The Scorpions clearly didn't care, as Pablo Campos sent a rocket near post right by a slow reacting Richard Martin. The Islanders had a chance to bring one back, as they were awarded a penalty kick when a shot from David Foley hits a Scorpion defender in the arm in the box. It was just one of those nights for the Islanders, as they couldn't capitalize as David Foley hit the crossbar with his penalty kick, and the Scorpions were able to preserve their shut-out.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Minnesota Stars
Not winning a game in almost a month was beginning to wear on their Rowdies, but they were able to shake that off with a 2-1 away win at NSC Stadium in front of 2,908 in attendance. But it was the Stars that were able to strike first on a beautiful piece of individual skill from Martin Nunez, who beat his defender and then the goalkeeper from a very difficult angle. The Rowdies first goal though, was something out of a kids' nightmares of soccer book. 

The Stars defense couldn't clear, so it was passed very lazily back to Stars 'keeper Matthew VanOekel, who had to sprint to even try and clear the ball. Unfortunately for him, his light clearance landed 10 feet away, right onto the waiting foot Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who easily knocked it passed VanOekel. While both teams had chances in the second half, the shots were just missing for both teams, and the game had a feeling of ending at a 1-1 draw. The Rowdies had other ideas though, as substitute Keith Savage(no relation) wrong footed VanOekel, and put Tampa Bay ahead for good.


Coming up this week in NASL action, Carolina takes on Edmonton, Atlanta faces Puerto Rico, Tampa Bay squares off against San Antonio, and Minnesota plays against Fort Lauderdale. It should also be noted that the Islanders have a mid-week game against the W-Connection to begin their final round of CONCACAF Champions League qualifying. It's a 4-team group stage, in which the top 3 teams from the Caribbean get into the Champions League. Puerto Rico should advance.

Here's your shuffled around standings for the NASL.


TEAM
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
San Antonio Scorpions
11
6
4
1
7
22
Puerto Rico Islanders
11
6
2
3
10
20
Minnesota Stars FC
11
4
5
2
1
17
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
12
4
4
4
-2
16
Tampa Bay Rowdies
12
4
3
5
-3
15
Carolina RailHawks
12
3
5
4
0
14
FC Edmonton
11
3
2
6
-1
11
Atlanta Silverbacks
12
1
5
6
-12
8





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