Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NASL Weeek 14 Recaps

Article by Doak Gips


Normally here I give you some witty intro, and you take it like a (wo)man. This week, I have 7 games to talk about. No time for smarmy wit, we've got soccer to cover!

Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Carolina Railhawks

Eric Wynalda's coaching debut for the Silverbacks wasn't meant for the storybooks, as the Railhawks beat the Silverbacks 2-1 in front of 4,475 at WakeMed Soccer Park on July 3rd. It looked like early that it was the same old Silverbacks to show up, as they conceded a goal in the 3rd minute, as Nick Zimmerman received a pass in the middle of the field right outside the penalty box, and finessed it passed Silverbacks 'keeper Daniel Illyes. But the Silverbacks fought back and tied it up a little over 10 minutes later, as Silverbacks forward Matt Horth was left to run at a cross from Borfor Carr, who flicked it nicely past Railhawks keeper Ray Burse to tie the game up. The Railhawks would take the game winner early in the 2nd half, as a cross from Cory Elenio found Nick Zimmerman at the back post for the game winner.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

One team is trying to keep a hold on top of the table, while one is trying to fight its way up usually makes for a pretty entertaining game. While the Strikers kept it commendable for the first half, they weren't able to keep it going for the 2nd, as they ended up losing 3-1, on July 4th, in front of 4,710 at Al Lang Stadium. The Rowdies actually scored first in the contest as a header from Strikers forward Andy Herron that was initially blocked by Jeff Antinella, landed right back at Herron's feet, who was able to slot it back past Antinella for the 1-0 lead. The Rowdies came roaring back, as a fantastic low cross from Rowdies forward Fafa Picault split three Strikers' players and found Mike Ambersley for the slot-in goal. The 2nd half was all Rowdies, as Daniel Antoniuk took over the game, assisting on a wonder goal from Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who took it off the volley right outside the 18 yard box, and put it over a watching Matt Glaeser. Antoniuk took the liberty of scoring the dagger by himself, as he took a mis-played ball that went right under Glaeser's hands and put home the easy goal.


Puerto Rico Islanders vs. Minnesota Stars FC

Normally I would come out and bash into a team that loses a game 4-0, especially the 2nd place team in the league, but this being the tail-end of a grueling 3 game road trip for the Islanders, we'll call it a fluke loss and move on. This is to take nothing away from Minnesota, as they went after the Islanders, and proved that they still belong towards the top of the table with the convincing win at NSC Stadium on July 4th, with 2,199 in attendance. Martin Nunez had the first goal on the night, which was clean up duty after Miguel Ibarra's shot was deflected right to Nunez. The Stars continued the attack in the first half of stoppage time as a Brian Kallman cross found the foot of Simone Bracalello on the volley, who slammed it past Islanders 'keeper Richard Martin. The Stars used the momentum to score quickly in the 2nd half, as a Neil Hlavaty cross found an unmarked Nunez for goal number 2 on the night. The Stars rounded out their scoring with Amani Walker, coming on as a sub and playing for the first time in over a month, who was left open like he was sick and no one wanted to touch him, promptly sent one past Martin.

FC Edmonton vs. San Antonio Scorpions

The Scorpions continue to show their class with another win, this time 1-0 on July 4th, against the Eddies in front of 9,115 at Heroes Stadium. Even though the Eddies lost, I still get to gush over CoMNASLPotYSF (Committee-of-Me-NASL-Player-of-the-Year-So-Far, for the uninitiated) Shaun Saiko, as he took all four, yes four, shots that the Eddies had all night, scoring none of them. The Scorpions took what was given to them, as Esteban Bayona headed home a pinpoint perfect pass from defender Jonathon Greenfield. After starting slowly, it should be mentioned that San Antonio has not allowed a home goal since a 2-2 draw with Fort Lauderdale dating back to APRIL 21st. Yes, that reads April. In other Scorpions notes, the Scorpions and forward Euan Purcell have agreed to mutually part ways. There were no further details released.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Carolina Railhawks

Ah, the consistently inconsistent Strikers. Get shellacked on the road 3-1, then come back to take a 3-1 lead on the road, only to allow 2 late goals and end up with 1 point. This all pretty much fits the script at this point, as the beat rolled on for the Strikers at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, drawing with the Railhawks 3-3, with 2713 in attendance. Carolina opened the scoring in the 12th minute as a screamer of a shot from Breiner Ortiz bounced off the post right at the waiting foot of Mike Palacio for his first goal of the night. The Strikers then went on a 3 goal tear, scoring two in the first half, then one in the 2nd half. The first of the goals in the first half was scored by Strikers' player Darnell King, who easily finished a nice low cross from Abe Thompson. Before the Railhawks even had a chance to catch their breath, the Strikers scored again, this time on a sweet one-two from Thompson to Walter Restrepo. The Strikers look to add the dagger about halfway into the second half, as Restrepo gained his brace, when he and King were able to get back behind the Railhawks defense. The Railhawks were not to be denied though, as they scored goal number 2 on a ball that pinball'd around the penalty box until finding its way to the foot of Palacio, who knocked home his 2nd goal of the match. The Railhawks completed their comeback in the dying embers of the game, as a Palacio cross went right by everyone, and landed at Ty Shipalane's feet, who placed it right between the legs of Strikers 'keeper Matt Glaeser.


FC Edmonton vs. Puerto Rico Islanders

The Islanders were hoping to get back on track finally back at home from a 3-week road trip, and while they weren't able to get the result they wanted, they at least scavenged some points, drawing with the Eddies 1-1 at the Bayamon Soccer Complex, with 1,502 in attendance. The Islanders opened the scoring with the Jonathon Fana, dancing around at the top of the penalty box, and then ripping a shot past a watching John Smits. With Shaun Saiko out to suspension, the Eddies would have to find their offense from somewhere else, and on this night it came from a cross that ended up being a shot, after the ball managed to miss all the players in the box, and then sneak by a diving Richard Martin.


Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Minnesota Stars FC

Now this is probably more like what Silverbacks fans were expecting when Eric Wynalda took over, as Atlanta Silverbacks took it the Stars at NSC Stadium, in front of 1,728. The Silverbacks started their scoring with an over-the-top ball which caught way too many Stars defenders napping, and Silverbacks forward Matt Horth was able to knock past Stars 'keeper Matthew VanOekel for the opening lead. The Silverbacks second goal started with first game professional Jahbari Willis, just signed from the Silverbacks reserve squad, who made a beautiful through pass to a streaking Borfor Carr up the middle of the field and placed it over VanOekel. The win marked Wynalda's first win as a professional coach. It should also be noted that the Silverbacks signed a trio of now former Cal FC players to the Silverbacks this week. The Silverbacks should see improvement along the front, mid, and back with the signings of forward Danny Barrera, midfielder Pablo Cruz, and defender Mike Randolph. Barrera had a fantastic US Open Cup run, and the 25 year old Mike Randolph played for the LA Galaxy for 3 years.


There's no rest for the weary, as the Scorpions get ready to take on the Islanders in a midweek clash, and the Minnesota Stars take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a Thursday night tilt. The upcoming weekend games include Atlanta taking on Puerto Rico, Fort Lauderdale facing San Antonio, and Edmonton goes up against Tampa Bay.

Here's the updated results as of the 8th of July.

TEAM
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
San Antonio Scorpions
14
8
4
2
10
28
Puerto Rico Islanders
15
7
4
4
7
25
Tampa Bay Rowdies
15
7
3
5
2
24
Minnesota Stars FC
15
6
5
4
2
23
Carolina RailHawks
16
5
6
5
2
21
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
16
5
5
6
-4
20
FC Edmonton
15
3
4
8
-4
13
Atlanta Silverbacks
16
2
5
9
-15
11


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