Thursday, August 2, 2012

NASL Week 17 Recap


Article by Doak Gips


If there was any doubt who is the number one team in the NASL, there is no doubt anymore. Seriously. The Scorpions stamped that and put it away this past week. With a defense that is making Scorpions 'keeper Daryl Sattler look like Iker Casillas, and an offense with the the NASL's leading goal-scorer in Pablo Campos, the Scorpions look like they plan on demolishing everyone the rest of the way through the league. Let's talk about the Scorpions first, shall we?


Carolina Railhawks vs. San Antonio Scorpions

Normally here, I'd give you a goal recap, and let you know how each one of the goal-scoring plays developed, and who did best on the play. If I did that with this game, we'd be here for a very long time. So, I'll give you the abridged version, as 7,186 people at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio watched the Scorpions beat the Railhawks (not a typo) 8-0 on the back of 4 goals from Pablo Campos, who pushed his total goals on the season to 15. Somehow though, the Scorpions first goal was from former Vancouver Whitecaps FC player Greg Janicki, who got lucky and found the ball at his feet after it was ping-ponged around the hot zone, and was able to send it past a late diving Ray Burse. Surprisingly, the Scorpions only scored two goals in the first half, with the other coming from Campos. The second half though...well...that's when the fireworks started. In rapid fire succession here, the Scorpions french fries goal came from Campos on a pk, as every fan that shows a ticket when the Scorpions score three goals, get free Mcdonalds fries. French fry number four came from a corner, which found the noggin of Janicki for his second on the night. French fry number five came from Esteban Bayona. French fry number six was the longest fry in the box, in which a 30 yard bomb from defender Blake Wagner might win goal of the week for. By french fry number 7, the Railhawks defense not only looked like swiss cheese, it had no motivation or bite, as Campos was standing all alone right around 4 watching defenders, as easily claimed his hat trick. Fry number 8 was nearly identical to 7, as Campos was able to grab goal 4 right in front of goal.


Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

If you sat me down and told me there would be two eight goal games in the NASL this week, I probably would've just laughed at you. Then you would've shown me the Scorpions game and this one, and you'd be laughing at me all the way to the bank with the bet you placed on that happening. Whatever the odds were, it happened, as Fort Lauderdale beat Atlanta 5-3 in front of 3,160 people at Lockhart Stadium. Unlike the Scorpions game, this one got went to halftime with a 2-2 tie. The goal of the first half came from recent loaned player from Real Salt Lake to the Strikers, Paulo Araujo Jr, who will be going toe to toe with Blake Wagner's shot for goal of the week. My overview won't do it justice, but from just inside the corner of the 18, Araujo Jr hit a wonderful FIFA12-esque shot that curled right over and around Daniel Illyes. Here, watch for yourself. First highlight. It's a real beauty. Fort Lauderdale's Aly Hassan scored the first two of the second half, with the second being nearly better than Araujo Jr's, as the ball was a bit farther outside the box, but from straight in front of goal. I'm taking nothing away from that goal either though, there really was nothing Illyes could do on the goal. The Silverbacks didn't go away immediately though as Paulo Mendes brought the Silverbacks back to a one goal deficit, but, it was the Strikers with the last laugh as Walter Restrepo put away the last goal for the Strikers.

Minnesota Stars FC vs. Puerto Rico Islanders

I promise there were some games this week that ended up like actual soccer matches this past weekend. The Islanders did their part in keeping up with the Scorpions with a 1-0 win against the Minnesota Stars with 1,357 in attendance. The lone goal of the game came from Islanders midfielder Noah Delgado, who was left completely unmarked at the bottom of the box. After a misplaced header, the ball landed right at Delgado's feet for the easy shot past Stars 'keeper Matthew VanOekel. Minnesota actually managed 2 more shots, 10-8 against the Islanders, but could not convert any of them on their way to the loss. The loss, along with the Strikers win, moved the Stars down into 5th place in the table.

FC Edmonton vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

With both the Islanders and the Scorpions winning, the Rowdies needed a win to stay in second place, and they came away with just that, winning at home 1-0 against Edmonton with 3,149 watching in the stands of Al Lang Stadium. The lone goal from the Rowdies came from the head of Daniel Antoniuk, who received a nice cross from Mike Ambersley, and was able to knock it past Edmonton 'keeper John Smits for the goal. Amazingly, both teams totaled 35 shots, with 15 coming from Edmonton, and they still couldn't find the back of the net. Shaun Saiko had a better chance in the first half when he received the ball relatively unmarked just inside the 18, but couldn't even find the frame of the goal.

The NASL offensive player of the week was the Scorpions Pablo Campos, which was probably the easiest choice in the history of this award. The defensive player of the week was Rowdies 'keeper Jeff Antinella. Antinella has been really good this year, with a current shutout streak of 315 minutes going on, and a league leading 86 saves.

It should also be mentioned that Puerto Rico kicks off their CONCACAF Champions League play this week against Metapan. That game kicks off Wednesday at 10pm ET. The Islanders are in group 5 with Metapan and the LA Galaxy.



Coming up this week Carolina looks to bounce back against Tampa Bay, Atlanta takes on Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio gets Puerto Rico, and Edmonton faces Minnesota.

Here's your updated table.


TEAM
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
San Antonio Scorpions
18
10
5
3
18
35
Tampa Bay Rowdies
19
10
3
6
5
33
Puerto Rico Islanders
19
9
4
6
6
31
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
20
7
6
7
-2
27
Minnesota Stars FC
19
7
5
7
0
26
Carolina RailHawks
18
6
6
6
-5
24
FC Edmonton
18
4
4
10
-5
16
Atlanta Silverbacks
19
3
5
11
-17
14

I'll also be live-tweeting most MLS CONCACAF Champions League games, for all five of you watching. Come find me on twitter @DoakGips and lets talk. 

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