Thursday, June 28, 2012

NASL Week 12 Rewind


Article by Doak Gips

We're moving closer to the halfway point in the NASL schedule, and while the fight for the top continues onto next week, Atlanta is trying to real hard to lay claim to the cellar of the league. Actually, they don't have to try much harder, they've pretty much got that part nailed down. Could they actually begin turning things around?



Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Atlanta Silverbacks

It doesn't really help that they were playing the team that were coming off the high of getting back into the CONCACAF Champions League, and were also looking to reclaim the top spot in the league table. It also didn't apparently matter that Puerto Rico didn't start forward Jonathon Fana, or starting GK Richard Martin, giving them a break after a grueling recent schedule. Clearly, after all the CONCACAF mess, all they really wanted was the top spot in the NASL back, which they reclaimed by beating the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 in front of 5,000 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Stadium. 


The Islanders opened the scoring against the run of play, with some nifty back and forth passing(along with some miserable marking by the Silverbacks) up the field, with the final cross coming from best-named NASL player of the week, Yaw Danso, which found Nicholas Addlery for the tap in. The Silverbacks weren't going to just roll over though as a fantastic through ball from Silverbacks midfielder Danilo Turcio, which was brilliantly one-timed to the far post by forward Matt Horth. But it was the Islanders who would finish, as an over the top ball from David Foley found Addlery again, who cleanly dodged the keeper after he came out, and put the ball away.

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Well, I've already let the secret out of the bag that Puerto Rico is top of the league again, which must mean San Antonio lost, which is exactly what they did in heartbreaking fashion, giving away two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game, to lose to the Rowdies 3-2 in front of 2,559 fans at Al Lang Stadium. The Scorpions started the scoring, with defender Jonathon Greenfield channeling all the shooting drills he's ever done, and ripped a shot from only a few feet off the end line and right past Rowdies keeper Jeff Antinella. The Rowdies responded with a header from an unmarked Tsuyoshi Yoshitake to tie it up. 

Early in the second half Esteban Bayona grabbed his second goal of the season, as he created a cluster mess in front of the box after his shot came off the post, and ended up being credited after the ball ended up across the line. It looked as if San Antonio was going to keep their unbeaten streak alive, but the Rowdies had other ideas. In the 88th minute, Rowdies forward Luke Mulholland hit a fantastic free kick over the wall and beat Scorpions goalkeeper Daryl Sattler to tie the game. The Rowdies won the game on a ball that ended up right at Yoshitake's feet after being dumped into the box, who smacked it past Sattler for the win.

FC Edmonton vs. Carolina Railhawks

The Railhawks continued their resurgence up the table after beating Edmonton 2-0 at WakeMed Soccer Park, much to the delight of the 3,600 in attendance. The Railhawks scored first with Nick Zimmerman making a sliding tackle onto the ball off his own touch, regaining possession, standing up, and then promptly slotted in home from a left side angle against Eddies keeper Lance Parker. The Railhawks didn't waste any time adding to their tally, as a nice setup pass from Zack Schilawski found Breiner Ortiz, who knocked it far post and out of the reach of Parker. The Railhawks played the last 12 minutes of regulation down a man, as Amir Lowery was sent off due to a hard challenge on Shaun Saiko, but the Eddies still couldn't capitalize.



Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Minnesota Stars FC

While the fight for first has been playing see-saw with the Islanders and Scorpions, the Minnesota Stars would like to remind everyone that they are very much a part of this race as well, and they did just that by stringing up a 2-1 win against Fort Lauderdale in front of 2,442 in attendance at NSC Stadium. The Stars were given a gift for the first goal, as a Strikers defender Jack Stewart was called for a handball in the box, and also shown a yellow. Neil Hlavaty promptly smashed the net with a unstoppable PK, and put the Stars up 1-0. The Strikers thought this lead was silly, as less than 10 minutes later, Strikers forward Mark Anderson whipped a free kick around the wall, and passed an outstretched Stars keeper, Matthew VanOekel. But unlike last week, Minnesota found the go ahead goal first, as Simone Bracalello's head found a ball from Brian Kallman, who was able to sneak it past Strikers 'keeper Matt Glaeser.


It was mentioned earlier, but I'll expand a bit here. The Puerto Rico Islanders placed third in the CFU playoffs, beating Antigua Barracuda 2-0, to give them the last CONCACAF Champions League spot for this season. They are placed in group five with the LA Galaxy, and Isidiro Metapan. Their first game of this Champions League run will be on August 1st, against Metapan.


This next week we have Fort Lauderdale taking on Carolina, Tampa Bay going against Minnesota, San Antonio facing Atlanta, and FC Edmonton taking on Puerto Rico.

Here's the updated table standings.


TEAM
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
Puerto Rico Islanders
12
7
2
3
11
23
San Antonio Scorpions
12
6
4
2
6
22
Minnesota Stars FC
12
5
5
2
2
20
Tampa Bay Rowdies
13
5
3
5
-2
18
Carolina RailHawks
13
4
5
4
2
17
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
13
4
4
5
-3
16
FC Edmonton
12
3
2
7
-3
11
Atlanta Silverbacks
13
1
5
7
-13
8

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