NASL Fall Season Week 6: What to Watch For

Jaime Chavez's stellar August has Miami FC on top of the Fall Season table and a commanding lead in the Combined standings. Photograph by NASL

nasl logoThe North American Soccer League has a new leader at the top of the Fall Season standings heading into Week 6, though the new frontrunner should be no surprise. Spring Season champion Miami FC (4-2-0, 12 Fall; 15-4-3, 48 Combined) knocked off the previous leader Puerto Rico FC (2-1-3, 9 Fall; 3-10-9, 19 Combined) last week to take hold of first place, showing that its early missteps in July were merely temporary blips. Puerto Rico does have one more direct shot at Miami in as it travels to South Florida this week, but it won’t be any easier now that Miami has rediscovered its confidence.

Indy Looks to Stop the Bleeding

Indy Eleven (1-3-1, 4 Fall; 5-7-9, 24 Combined) will have plenty to make up for a brutal August that saw the team take one point as it prepares for five matches in September. To turns things around, though, Indy will need to regain its defensive form after conceding three goals in each of its last four matches. Fullback Nemanja Vukovic is expected back from his injury this week, but Indy’s primary focus should be on stopping Dagoberto from linking up with Tommy Heinemann up top when the San Francisco Deltas (1-1-3, 6 Fall; 8-5-8, 32 Combined) come to town. The Brazilian is fresh off his first goal for the Deltas and has already created 13 scoring chances in his handful of appearances.

Miami Back in Front

Puerto Rico has a shot at redemption on Saturday after having last week’s loss at home to Miami. The 2-0 scoreline from last week is not an accurate measure of the flow of the match as both sides earned a number of scoring chances end-to-end action, but Miami was the one to take advantage with potent finishing. Jaime Chavez continued his hot streak in Puerto Rico last week with his third consecutive winning goal to put Miami atop the Fall Season table.

Eddies Building on Offensive Progress

Since kicking off the Fall Season with a disappointing home loss to Indy, Edmonton (2-1-2, 8 Fall; 6-12-3, 21 Combined) has slowly but surely been building momentum as it has gone unbeaten in its last four matches with two draws and two wins. An uptick in productivity from attackers Tomi Ameobi, Dustin Corea and Ben Fisk has resulted in seven goals for the Eddies in the recent unbeaten streak. With 19 total goals this year, the Eddies still lag behind every other attack in the league, but they’ve started to close the gap and will be hard to knock off if the defense remains intact. The Canadian side travels this week to face a North Carolina (1-1-4, 7 Fall; 7-8-7, 28 Combined) side that needed a last-minute equalizer to take a point last week.

Armada Take Momentum to New York

The Jacksonville Armada (1-3-2, 5 Fall; 7-7-8, 29 Combined) arrives in New York on a high. Not only did the Armada capture its first win of the fall last week, it did so with the type of commanding offensive performance it has been hoping for all year. Midfielder Jack Blake took the Armada on his back and lifted it to victory with the first hat trick in the team’s history. Meanwhile, the New York Cosmos (1-1-3, 6 Fall; 7-5-9, 30 Combined) are aiming to put in a balanced performance after three straight draws. The Cosmos must contend with the absences of center backs Dejan Jakovic and David Ochieng because of international duty. They will, however, have one important piece in play as last year’s MVP Juan Arango has finally arrived.