NASL Fall Week 2 Recap: Canada Atop the Fall Table, Minnesota Snaps Ottawa’s Run, More

IMAGE, MINNESOTA UNITED FC

by JAKE NUTTING
NASL Beat Writer

Ottawa Fury FC may have seen their impressive shutout streak come to an end this weekend, but they, along with FC Edmonton, were the only winning sides from last week to earn a point in this week’s action.

Because of their hard-fought road draws, Ottawa and the Eddies occupy the top two spots of the Fall Season table.

The only good news for the Tampa Bay Rowdies after their abysmal loss in San Antonio is that their lead in the combined points table was never even at risk because the New York Cosmos were off this week.

Carolina showed clear signs of fatigue in their third match in only seven days. The RailHawks struggles this weekend could be a troubling signs for teams when they eventually face the same scenario down the road.

Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0 Jacksonville Armada FC

It should be no surprise that Atlanta’s first win since week two of the Spring Season also came in the club’s first shutout since May 2. A stingy defense was the main reason they rose to the top of the standings early in the season. A shift to a 3-5-2 formation and newly inked Kosuke Kimura in the midfield helped the Silverbacks regroup defensively and leave Jacksonville scoreless for the second straight week.

Armadas FC were in control for the bulk of the match but the visitors were unable to capitalize on any of their momentum. Atlanta managed to survive a handful of attempts on goal in the opening 20 minutes and frustrate Jacksonville’s attack all night.

Atlanta’s game winner came in the 60th minute when an arching cross into the box flew over several bodies and fell to Jaime Chavez. The forward collected the ball and as Jacksonville scrambled to regroup, picked Michael Reed out with a pass on top of the box. The midfielder promptly rifled a shot to the upper 90 of the far side corner.

Jacksonville thought they had the equalizer in the 80th minute when Tommy Krizanovic deflected a cross into the net. The goal was waived off, though, when the referee deemed Krizanovic had used his arm rather than the top of his shoulder to deflect the ball.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1-1 FC Edmonton

The opening 45 minutes in South Florida were closely contested as neither team could assert itself and take charge in the final third. Things opened up in the final 30 minutes, though, as the Strikers were able to finally breakthrough in head Gunter Kronsteiner’s first home match since re-signing.

Marlon Freitas played a ball into space for second half substitute Shawn Chin in the 68th minute. Chin went down in the box after contact with keeper Matt van Oekel and the referee pointed to the spot. Walter Ramirez was the man to convert the penalty.

Edmonton was able to scrape a point out of the match in the 86th minute. In his professional debut, 19-year-old Bruno Zebie trapped a long ball for Sadi Jalali, who volleyed the ball from 25 yards out. The attempt bounced off the post before rebounding into the net off the back of a diving Josh Ford. The tally was deemed an own goal, so Jalali was denied his second goal in as many matches.

Indy Eleven 2-1 Carolina RailHawks

Carolina was already at a disadvantage heading into Saturday’s match considering the club was playing its third match in seven days. The hole only got deeper with Nacho Novo not making the trip due to an illness and Ty Shipalane exiting the match in only the 23rd minute after a hard tackle.

Novo and Shipalane are the team’s leading scorers with four goals each.

Despite the maladies facing them, the RailHawks were able to steal a lead two minutes before the halftime whistle on what will likely be one of the best executed free kick goals this year. From 25 yards out, Nazmi Albadawi tapped the ball into play but quickly received it back from his teammate and then chipped the ball into the penalty area for a diving Austin da Luz. Acting as Shipalane’s replacement, da Luz went completely horizontal to connect his head with the ball and find the upper corner of the net.

The visitor’s confidence quickly faded early in the second half as Indy was able to score twice in the span of two minutes. The comeback started in the 54th minute when forward Wojciech Wojcik used his body to create space and bury a header past keeper Akira Fitzgerald. Erik Norales then notched the winner by one-timing an excellent free kick from Victor Pineda.

The result ends Carolina’s six-game unbeaten streak and extends Indy’s own unbeaten streak to five.

Minnesota United FC 1-1 Ottawa Fury FC

The Loons came out of the gate strong in hopes of ending both their recent skid in form and Ottawa’s record shutout streak. They were rewarded in the 32nd minute when center back Tiago Calvano deftly played a curling ball behind the back line for Christian Ramirez. Last year’s Golden Boot Winner was making his first start in a few months for the Loons and showed tremendous confidence by blasting the ball past keeper Romuald Peiser with his first touch. Ramirez’s second goal of the year ended Ottawa’s shutout streak at 648 minutes.

Unfortunately for Ramirez, he played a hand in the sequence that led to Ottawa equalizing. In the scramble for a loose ball in Minnesota’s penalty area, the forward’s boot made contact with the face of Oliver Minatel. Tom Heinemann had no problem converting the ensuing penalty to equalize and keep his side atop the Fall table.

San Antonio Scorpions 3-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

San Antonio had the best rebound of anyone after a disastrous Fall debut in Edmonton last week. They returned home on Saturday night and dispatched the league’s combined points leading Tampa Bay Rowdies. The result snapped the Rowdies eight game unbeaten streak and it was also the first time the back line was burned for more than two goals in a single match.

After watching Lance Laing put on a show against his team last week, forward Omar Cummings put on a display of his own this week in his best outing of the year. Tampa Bay’s back line was troubled by San Antonio’s pace all night, and all three of their goals resulted from well executed counters that Cummings played a part in.

First Cummings provided the assist to Marvin Chavez in the 11th minute to shock the Rowdies, who had been dominating up until that point. Cummings then netted two goals of his own in the 54th and 62nd minutes by getting on the end of brilliant service from Billy Forbes and Rafael Castillo on two more quick counter attacks. The brace gives Cummings a league-best seven goals on the year, one more than Laing.