NASL Fall Week 11 Recap: Miami Moving On Up, More

IMAGE, FC EDMONTON

by JAKE NUTTING

With their critical 1-0 win over the visiting Minnesota United FC (20 pts Fall, 36 pts Combined), the New York Cosmos (30 pts, 48 pts) are the obvious headline from week 11 of the NASL Fall Season. The Cosmos’s position remained unchanged at the top of the fall and combined standings, but they are now in total control of theair playoff destiny as everyone else in the top four at the start of the weekend lost out in their matches.

Miami FC’s (22 pts, 29 pts) current run cannot be ignored, though. The expansion side has lost only once in its last ten matches and pulled off perhaps its most notable win of that run this weekend by knocking off FC Edmonton (24 pts, 41 pts) 2-0. Miami still has a lot of ground to cover in the standings if they hope to clinch a playoff spot, but they now sit third in the fall standings and are in the thick of the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the combined table.

New York Cosmos 1-0 Minnesota United FC

New York’s David Diosa tallied the only goal in the match in the 32nd minute. Ruben Bover delivered a cross over the top for the streaking Diosa on the left side of the penalty area and the attacker plucked the ball out of the air with a volley back across goal to best Sammy Ndjock.

The Cosmos needed a bit of luck a few moments later as Lance Laing had a booming free kick from 20 yards out denied by the crossbar. Luck had nothing to do with the stops in the second half, though. Keeper Jimmy Maurer came up with two standout saves in the final minutes to deny the league’s leading scorer Christian Ramirez an equalizer. First Maurer lifted a half volley over the bar with his fingertips, and he then stood his ground to swat away a powerful close-range effort.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 Indy Eleven

The Strikers closed out a four-match homestand with an impressive victory over the league’s Spring Season champions. Paulo Junior gave the home side a lead in the 19th minute when he capped off a run of nearly 30 yards with a clinical finish past Jon Busch. Junior was credited with an assist on the second goal midway through the second half, but Maicon Santos did all the heavy lifting. Santos slipped the ball through the legs of Indy’s Colin Falvey at the edge of the penalty area and finished off with a shot to the far post.

Fort Lauderdale was minutes away from securing their third straight clean sheet until Indy’s Justin Braun gave his side something to hang their hat on with a header in the 88th minute. Indy is now winless in their last four matches.

Miami 2-0 FC Edmonton

Edmonton’s defense is finally showing signs of fallibility. Defensive miscues have directly lead to the Eddies allowing four goals in their last two matches, and the latest errors from Sunday have ended their home unbeaten streak at ten.

Miami’s Dario Cvitanich sprung into action when keeper Matt Van Oekel rolled the ball out for Nico Di Biase in the 14th minutes. Cvitanich picked the defender’s pocket and promptly dribbled around Van Oekel before making the simple finish into the open net. The visitors doubled the lead midway through the second half after Edmonton’s center back Papa Diakite misjudged a goal kick from Daniel Vega, allowing Vincenzo Rennella to run onto the ball and tally his first goal for Miami.

 Carolina RailHawks 0-0 Ottawa Fury FC

Just a few days after battling Puerto Rico to a scoreless draw on the road, Ottawa played to the exact same result on Saturday in Carolina. An illness in Ottawa’s camp left them with only 16 players to suit up against the RailHawks, but the home side still could not find a way to best Ottawa’s defense or Romuald Peiser. The netminder made three saves on the way to his seventh shutout of the year, while Carolina’s Bryan Sylvestre made his required two saves on the opposite end of the field.

Puerto Rico FC 0-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Rowdies took a point for a second straight time on the road, but the pressure for them to start earning three-point results in the postseason race is mounting. After dispatching Puerto Rico 3-0 at home in July, the Rowdies failed to find the back of the net at all on the road this weekend. The expansion had the best scoring chance of the entire night when Paulo Mendes’ free kick from deep down the left flank rattled off post in the 33rd minute.

Rayo OKC 3-2 Jacksonville Armada FC

Rayo OKC’s four-game losing streak came to an end against Jacksonville thanks to a burst of offensive production from the expansion side. Marvin Chavez put Rayo OKC ahead in the 25th minute with a gorgeous, curling free kick to the top corner and Sebastian Ibeagha extended the lead early into the second half when he tapped in a cross from Moises Hernandez.

Jacksonville had a fleeting moment of hope in the 62nd minute when defender Tyler Ruthven headed the ball across the line, but less than two minutes later a shot from Rayo OKC’s Georgios Samaras deflected off Mechack Jerome for an own goal. Charles Eloundou grabbed a second for Jacksonville from the penalty spot deep into stoppage time, but it was too little too late.