NASL Fall Season Week 9: What to Watch For

Photograph by Puerto Rico FC

nasl logoAs the complications of Hurricane Irma seemed behind the North American Soccer League, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico this week, wreaking havoc on the entire island and causing the postponement of another match for the beleaguered Puerto Rico FC (2-2-4, 10 Fall; 3-11-10, 19 Combined). The Caribbean side’s road match against Indy Eleven (2-5-1, 7 Fall; 6-9-9, 27 Combined) has been pushed to Oct. 4.

Delaying this weekend’s match while all of Puerto Rico is reeling from Maria’s destruction is the sensible thing to do. The NASL, however, will need to find a solution soon if PRFC is going to finish the season. In all likelihood, the team will be unable to host any of its five remaining home matches, the first of which is scheduled for next weekend. Not only is the entire island expected to be without electricity for an extended period, but Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium also sustained damage in the storm.

Cosmos Seeking to Snap Winless Streak

After securing two draws in two drastically different ways at home earlier in the week, the New York Cosmos (1-2-6; 9 Fall; 7-6-12, 33 Combined) have one more shot to take care of business at MCU Park when they host North Carolina FC (2-2-6, 12 Fall; 8-9-9, 33 Combined). Winless in their last eight matches, the Cosmos have stopped paying attention to the fall standings and have instead started pinning their postseason hopes on the Combined Season race. Saturday will be one of the Cosmos’ final chances to pick up points against a team currently above them in the combined standings. Although all three are even on points, North Carolina and Jacksonville currently edge out the Cosmos for a postseason spot through tiebreakers.

Deltas Holding Steady in Postseason Race

The San Francisco Deltas (2-1-4, 10 Fall; 9-5-9, 36 Combined) are unlikely to be catching Miami for the top spot in the combined standings anytime soon, but the expansion side is still sitting comfortably in the postseason picture at the moment. Wednesday’s late draw in New York leaves the Deltas with a three-point lead over the three teams in third, fourth and fifth. San Francisco also has the benefit of having played the fewest matches of any team so far. Edmonton‘s Combined Season prospects are far dimmer. The Eddies have engineered a solid Fall Season turnaround, but it hasn’t been enough to lift them out of the bottom half of the combined table. They are in the thick of the fall title race, though. Only four separate Edmonton from the Miami in that chase and the Canadian side still has two crucial head-to-head opportunities to gain ground on Miami.

Miami Returns From Break to Face Surging Armada

Not much has changed for Miami FC (5-2-1, 16 Fall; 16-4-4, 52 Combined) since it has been sidelined the last two weeks by Hurricane Irma. Coach Alessandro Nesta‘s squad rejoins the NASL action this week with a four-point lead over North Carolina and the Eddies in the Fall Season race and a commanding 12-point gap atop of the combined standings. Miami will need to shake off any rest it may have quickly, though, as it faces a Jacksonville Armada (2-3-3, 9 Fall; 8-7-9, 33 Combined) side with momentum behind it. Jacksonville found a nice attacking groove in its recent three-match road trip in which it won two and tied the other. Jack Blake and Ciarán Kilduff, in particular, aided in the offensive production with 7 of Jacksonville’s 8 goals in the last three outings. Jacksonville will have to get by without the help of suspended midfielder Kevan George.