NASL Fall Week 13 Recap: Indy Halt Cosmos, Rowdies Gain Ground, more

IMAGE, INDY ELEVEN/TREVOR RUSZKOWSKI

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos’ (31 pts Fall, 49 pts Combined) unbeaten streak came to screeching halt on Saturday night thanks to a 3-0 dismissal by Indy Eleven (27 pts, 45 pts). Coupled with FC Edmonton’s (26 pts, 43 pts) 1-0 loss to the Carolina RailHawks (19 pts, 33 pts), the result lifts Indy into second in the Fall Season and combined standings and cuts New York’s lead to just four points with six matches remaining.

Minnesota United FC (20 pts, 36 pts) found itself as the losing side in a matchup with Ottawa Fury FC (20 pts, 29 pts) for the second straight week. The Tampa Bay Rowdies (19 pts, 35 pts) capitalized on Minnesota’s stumble by dispatching the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (17 pts, 32 pts) 4-1 to pull within one point of the Loons for the fourth playoff spot in combined standings.

Indy Eleven 3-0 New York Cosmos

With the memory of their 3-0 loss to the Cosmos a few weeks ago in New York lingering, Indy came out at home and ran over the Cosmos to win with an identical scoreline on Saturday. Forward Justin Braun gave Indy a lead in the 32nd minute when he rose to head a ball that skipped off the turf after an initial header from Eamon Zayed.

Indy put the match out of reach for the Cosmos in a five-minute span early in the second half. Zayed got on the scoresheet with one-touch finish off a pass from Dylan Mares. A turnover by the Cosmos at midfield a few minutes later gifted Indy with a counter attack that was capped off by a strike from Mares at the edge of the box that beat Jimmy Maurer.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 4-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Fort Lauderdale struck the first blow in the final matchup in this year’s Florida Derby, but it was Tampa Bay who delivered the knockout punch. The Strikers’ lone goal came in the fourth minute, as Ramon Nunez slipped behind the back line to intercept an errant strike from his teammate Kleberson and slip a shot by Matt Pickens.

The Rowdies absorbed the goal and took hold of the match with a finish from Georgi Hristov just 10 minutes later after Joe Cole delivered a pin-point cross to the far post for the Bulgarian. Tommy Heinemann then gave the Rowdies the lead in the 36th minute when he ran onto a through ball from Justin Chavez and chipped the ball over a sliding Bruno.

Hristov went on to record two more through rebound opportunities. He pounced on a rebound off an initial shot from Darnell King shortly before the halftime break and did the same off a shot from Carlos Preciado in the 84th minute to complete the hat trick.

Ottawa Fury FC 3-1 Minnesota United FC

With revenge squarely on the mind of Minnesota, Ottawa still found a way to record another win — and three-goal performance. Like last week’s match, the night started positively for the Loons, who finished the first half with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Jamie Watson after he finished his own rebound.

After a quick restart at midfield in the 56th minute, Ottawa charged down the field and found an equalizer through Giuseppe Gentile. Déjà vu officially set in for Minnesota in 82nd minute as Ottawa rallied with two goals in five minutes to claim all three points. Ryan Williams grabbed the first goal when he benefited from a deflection off Brent Kallman and fired a shot into the back of the net. Lance Rozeboom then sealed the result when he was left totally unmarked in front of goal.

Carolina RailHawks 1-0 FC Edmonton

Carolina’s scoreless streak ended at 356 minutes on Saturday night when they found a way to break down the sturdy Edmonton back line in the 34th minute. Matt Fondy sent in a cross for his attacking partner Omar Bravo, who chested the ball down for Austin Da Luz to slip a shot across the line. The goal proved enough to get past the Eddies, who are now winless in their last six matches and have failed to tally a goal in 388 minutes of play.

Jacksonville Armada FC 1-1 Rayo OKC

Jacksonville jumped out to a lead at home in the 20th minute as Charles Eloundou tallied a goal for the third straight match. Eloundou did well to find the back of the net, dispossessing Futty Danso near the halfway line and sprinting toward the final third before firing a long-range shot past Daniel Fernandes.

Eloundou’s goal appeared to be enough to carry Jacksonville until the third minute of stoppage time in the second half. Defender Tyler Ruthven was whistled for sticking his foot in to stop Danso inside the box and Michel stepped to the spot for the second straight week to secure a late equalizer for Rayo OKC.

Puerto Rico FC 1-0 Miami FC

Miami promoted “Boricua Fest” for Friday’s match in honor of their Caribbean guests, and the visitors took the opportunity to nick a win. An unfortunate deflection off Pablo Campos from a free kick by Jackie Marrero gave Puerto Rico the necessary goal to record their first ever road win. Miami’s surge up the table has stalled as the expansion side has now dropped their last two matches.