NASL Fall Season Week 12: What to Watch For

Brazilian Dagoberto notched an important winner for San Francisco on Wednesday. Unbeaten in their last seven, the Deltas are pushing Miami at the top of the table. Photo by NASL

nasl logoThe San Francisco Deltas (6-1-5, 23 Fall; 13-5-10, 49 Combined) have officially made things interesting the North American Soccer League‘s Fall Season title race. Unbeaten in its last seven matches, including a draw and a win against first-place Miami (7-3-2, 23 Fall; 18-5-5, 59 Combined) last week, San Francisco has overtaken Miami for the top spot in the fall standings based on the goal differential tiebreaker.

San Francisco and Miami have one more head-to-head clash left in the regular season that has yet to be rescheduled after it was postponed¬†because of a hurricane. In the meantime, Coach Marc Dos Santos will look to build on his team’s momentum. A loss this weekend would hand Miami the top seed in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament.

Armada Need Offensive Boost to Stay in Postseason Race

The marquee matchup of the week will take place in northern Florida as the Jacksonville Armada (3-5-4, 13 Fall; 9-9-10, 37 Combined) hosts North Carolina (5-2-6, 21 Fall; 11-9-9, 42 Combined). A win for the home side would cut into North Carolina’s five-point lead in the combined standings. However, Jacksonville will need to start getting more consistent offensive production if it hopes to lock up a postseason spot. Last week’s 1-0 win over Edmonton snapped a three-match winless and scoreless streak that had cost the Armada dearly. Jacksonville hopes midfielder Jack Blake (8 goals, 2 assists) can recapture his form from earlier in the Fall Season as North Carolina travels to Florida with the confidence of three straight wins.

Indy on the Ropes

With just three matches left on its schedule, Indy Eleven (3-7-3, 12 Fall; 7-11-11, 32 Combined) is running out of time to make a move up the table. Already eliminated from the Fall Season race, Indy’s only shot at reaching the postseason would be to win its remaining matches and pray that New York and Jacksonville both experience an epic collapse. After being denied a win in two outings against San Francisco last week, Miami will be in no mood to help out Indy. Although Miami’s claim to the top spot in the combined standings and the top postseason seed remains solid, it is in a tight battle for the Fall Season crown. No team has given up more goals than Indy this year (49), a fact that Miami’s league-leading attack will look to exploit on Saturday.

Cosmos Go For Two at Home

The New York Cosmos (2-3-7, 13 Fall; 8-7-12, 37 Combined) are aiming to record two straight wins at home for the first time this year as they host an Edmonton (3-5-3, 12 Fall; 7-16-4, 25 Combined) side that has dropped four of its last five matches. Apart from a few bursts, Edmonton’s woeful attack has kept the team from being a serious contender to make the postseason. The Eddies have tallied 20 fewer goals than the Cosmos and even trail last-place Puerto Rico by two goals. New York can’t afford to be too cocky, though, considering Edmonton’s best offensive showing of the year was in a 4-2 comeback win over the Cosmos at MCU Park.

Displaced Puerto Rico Searching For a Result

After doing the seemingly impossible by nabbing four points of Miami last week, the San Francisco Deltas extended their unbeaten streak to seven matches with a vital win over Indy on Wednesday. Saturday’s matchup with Puerto Rico (2-5-4, 10 Fall; 3-14-10, 19 Combined) will be San Francisco’s fourth match in two last weeks, although the expansion side is still a clear favorite. Puerto Rico is still trying to find its bearings in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and has registered three losses — all by one goal — since returning to the field. Once this weekend’s West Coast trip is out of the way, Puerto Rico will have a little bit of consistency as it remains in Florida to host its next three matches.