Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NASL Week 19 Recap


Article by Doak Gips


Huh. Where did all the goals go? Did the heat wave finally get to everyone? Did every team suddenly start signing better defensive players(Hint: No)? To put this into perspective, more goals were scored in ONE game last week than were scored by all the teams this week, which even included an extra midweek game! Lets take a look back at the wasteland of scoring from this past week, shall we?

San Antonio Scorpions vs. FC Edmonton

How do you make a soccer game longer? Throw a little lightning storm in the middle of it. After a nearly three hour rain delay smack in the middle of the game, the Scorpions and Eddies ended up just using the first half score, as they drew 1-1 in front of 1,542 fans in the first half, and approximately 3 fans in the second half. San Antonio took the early lead, scoring in the 23rd minute as the Eddies literally stopped playing defense, as a jogging Jonathan Greenfield received a pass from Pablo Campos in the dead center of the field and easily slotted it past Eddies keeper Lance Parker. 


The Eddies nabbed the draw with a goal in stoppage time in the first half, as a giveaway by the Scorpions deep in their own half led to a nice goal by Yashir Pinto. The teams went into the locker room. And waited. For three hours. The fans, didn't. They went home. Yet, at say around midnight CST, the teams came back out. San Antonio came out sloppy, committing 12 fouls in the second half, including two to Josue Soto in the 65th minute. The Eddies pressed, with 5 corners and 6 total shots, but could not find the equalizer.

Carolina Railhawks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers

In a battle of two teams trying to move their way up the playoff pecking order, the Strikers came out on top of this one, 1-0 with 3,549 in attendance at Lockhart Stadium. The game, honestly, could have been much worse for the Railhawks, as the Strikers managed more shots in one half than the Railhawks did all game. The Strikers best chance in the first half came from a Mark Anderson one-timer finesse shot across his body, which might have had goal of the week on it, but the shot just caught the bar and came back out. The Strikers were able to score though on nice shot by Andy Herron from just outside the box. I say nice, because the Railhawks defense let him have the shot, as the defender literally points at the midfielder to step up and get the ball. He doesn't, the Strikers score, and take all three points.

Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

Ah, the old scoreless draw. We hadn't seen one of these in the NASL since the Eddies and Islanders ran around for 90 minutes all the way back on July 1st. The Rowdies had their chances to score, and their best was the clean penalty kick in stoppage time in the first half, but Silverbacks keeper Daniel Illyes made a great diving save to his right to keep the score at 0 for the first half. The Silverbacks gained one of their best chances in the second half as Horace James let out a screamer from just outside the box that went just wide of the goal and Rowdies 'keeper Jeff Antinella. The Silverbacks managed a free kick right before stoppage in the second half, but it was sent into the wall. The draw kept the Silverbacks at the bottom of the NASL table.

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Minnesota Stars FC

This is why Jeff Cunningham was brought in right? To take some of the scoring load off Pablo Campos, and to be able to get the Scorpions through on those off scoring nights. Seems fail proof. Which is exactly why the Scorpions won this game 1-0, on a converted PK, with 3,221 onlookers at NSC stadium. The Stars came away with the first real chance of the game, as Stars midfielder Miguel Ibarra hit a rip of a shot from the top of the 18 that went just over the goal. The Stars continued their press, and looked to grab the go ahead goal early in the second half, but Stars defender Justin Davis was called offside, on what looked like to be a pretty late call. Less than 10 minutes later, goal number 2 for the Stars was disallowed, as Martin Nunez was the culprit on what looked to be a much clearer, and quicker called, offside. 

All those missed opportunities came back to haunt the Stars, as a poorly cleared ball by Stars keeper Matthew VanOekel was sent right to Pablo Campos, who was chopped down on a run into the box, and was given the penalty kick. Scorpions midfielder Hans Dennisen stepped up and gave the Scorpions the 1-0 lead. The Stars bad luck continued, as would could have been a pk called in stoppage time against San Antonio, was waved 'play on' by the ref. The Scorpions held on and took all three points.

Puerto Rico Islanders vs. FC Edmonton

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Seriously, I'd like to talk you about your lottery ticket buying habits. Going back to the soccer game, FC Edmonton surprised you, me, the league, and that guy on the street, beating the Puerto Rico Islanders 1-0 with 1,229 in attendance at Clarke Stadium. It may have been only 1 goal, but it was easily the NASL goal of the week. Who was scoring this wonder of a goal you ask? None other than “committee-of- me-NASL-player-of the-year-so-far award” (Or CoMNASLPotYSF, for short) Shaun Saiko. The ball was played in wide from Kenny Caceros, which Saiko deftly played down to himself, and then sent the volley top corner and out of the reach of Islanders keeper Richard Martin. If you haven't seen it, go ahead and head over to the highlights page for this game and check it out, it's really a beauty. Saiko should have scored again, as his third shot of the game bounced off the post late in the first 
half. 



The Islanders fought back and their best chance came in the second half off a free kick that looped back post and found Jay Needham wide open, but he couldn't finish the chance even only a few feet away from goal. The win, coupled with the Carolina loss, put the Eddies only four points away from the last playoff spot.

This upcoming week sees Carolina face Edmonton in a crucial game for both teams, Atlanta takes on Minnesota, Puerto Rico looks to bounce back against Fort Lauderdale, and the number 1 San Antonio Scorpions face the number 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies down in San Antonio.

Here's your current standings.


TEAM
GP
W
T
L
GD
PTS
San Antonio Scorpions
21
11
6
4
18
39
Tampa Bay Rowdies
21
10
5
6
5
35
Puerto Rico Islanders
21
10
4
7
6
34
Fort Lauderdale Strikers
22
8
6
8
-3
30
Minnesota Stars FC
21
7
6
8
-1
27
Carolina RailHawks
20
6
7
7
-6
25
FC Edmonton
21
5
6
10
-4
21
Atlanta Silverbacks
21
4
6
11
-15
18


Want to talk more about the NASL? Find me on twitter @DoakGips

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