NASL Fall Season Week 5: What to Watch For

Connor Doyle bagged a goal in Puerto Rico's draw in Edmonton last week. The forward is aiding in the Caribbean side's Fall Season turnaround. Photograph by FC Edmonton

nasl logoAfter posting only 9 points in the Spring Season, Puerto Rico (2-0-3, 9 points Fall; 2-4-4, 18 points Combined) has a chance to blow past that number in Week 5 of the NASL Fall Season. To do so, though, Puerto Rico will need to get a result against a Miami (3-2-0, 9 Fall; 14-4-3, 45 Combined) side that recorded three wins last week.

In the Combined Season standing, the New York Cosmos (1-12, 5 Fall; 7-5-8, 29 Combined) are three points back of the expansion San Francisco Deltas (1-0-3, 6 Fall; 8-4-8, 32 Combined) for the second spot. Despite an awful start in the fall, the Jacksonville Armada (0-3-2, 2 Fall; 6-7-8, 26 Combined) is only a point behind North Carolina FC (1-1-3, 6 Fall; 7-8-6, 27 Combined) for the fourth postseason spot.

Puerto Rico Aims to Prove Itself Against Miami

Puerto Rico’s hot start to the Fall Season will be put to test with a home matchup against Miami, which has regained its spring form with three straight wins. Forward Connor Doyle has been a surprising factor for Puerto Rico as the Texas native has bagged three goals in his last four matches. Equally important for Miami recently has been attacker Jaime Chavez. Despite being an established NASL scorer, Chavez has had to ride the bench for much of the year because of Miami’s stacked roster. Injuries and squad rotation, however, have offered Chavez a chance to shine and he hasn’t wasted it, tallying two match-winning goals last week.

Armada Still Winless

After two losses, to Puerto Rico and Miami, by one-goal margins last week, Jacksonville remains the only team without a win in the fall. Getting into the win column this week will require getting past Indy Eleven (1-2-1, 4 Fall, 5-6-9, 24 Combined), which sits just above Jacksonville in the Fall Season standings. Indy returns home disappointed to have dropped three goals on the Cosmos but only taken one point. Mexican former national team star Gerardo Torrado, who announced this week this will be his final season, impressed with his first two goals since signing with Indy last summer. More encouraging for Indy is Èamon Zayed’s steady progression after an injury-plagued spring. Zayed has contributed three goals and an assist in his last four matches. The combination of a healthy Zayed and Justin Braun up top could make Indy a potent threat heading into the final stretch.

Cosmos at North Carolina

North Carolina is hoping to end its current skid in which it has drawn twice and lost once, but history is not on its side this weekend. Since 2014, North Carolina has failed to beat the Cosmos in eight tries. Midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma continues to be the main creator for New York’s attack. The Argentine leads the NASL with 45 scoring chances created. He added 10 to his season total in last week’s wild draw, including an assist on the late equalizer. New York has yet to take full advantage of Ledesma’s creativity as only three of his scoring chances have been converted into goals.

Deltas Go for Four Against Eddies

The Deltas look to keep their unbeaten start to the Fall Season going and record their fourth straight victory over Edmonton (1-1-2, 5 Fall; 5-12-3, 18 Combined) this weekend. San Francisco’s previous three wins over the Eddies were by identical 1-0 scorelines, showcasing how critical the defense has been in keeping the expansion side in a playoff position. Edmonton, however, has shown signs of progress in recent weeks as Ben Fisk and Tomi Ameobi have started to hit their stride in the attack. Fisk has a goal and three assists in his last six matches, while Ameobi has two goals and two assists in the same span. Edmonton remains dead last in goals scored this year (17), though its six goals through the first four matches of the fall are a good sign.