NASL Fall Week 3 Recap: Loons Deny Indy, Rayo OKC Rising

IMAGE, RAYO OKC

by JAKE NUTTING

Apart from one draw during the weeknight action, every match in week three of the NASL Fall Season ended with a winner. Also of note: all eight of those winners blanked their opponents.

Minnesota United FC finally got over the hump against Indy Eleven with a 2-0 result to snap the Spring Season champion’s unbeaten streak at 13 matches, leaving them one shy of establishing a new record for the modern NASL.

The shocking result of the weekend was the decisive 3-0 win Rayo OKC pulled over the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos still hold the lead in both league tables for the moment, but Rayo OKC is now clipping at their heels on the Fall Season table. The expansion side is now only one point of New York in the fall standings and sits even at 20 points with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, just on the edge of the playoff field.


Weekday results:

Indy Eleven 3-0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

New York Cosmos 3-0 Jacksonville Armada FC

Rayo OKC 2-2 Puerto Rico FC


Minnesota United 2-0 Indy Eleven

With the home field advantage on their side for this round, the Loons were finally able to get the better of Indy Eleven. After failing to convert on a penalty last week in Indy, Christian Ramirez made no mistake with his second chance this time around. Ramirez made quick work of Indy’ defense, converting the penalty in the third minute and then scoring a second by tapping in a cross from Stefano Pinho only three minutes later.

The result ends Indy’s unbeaten streak at 13 matches, which equals the modern NASL record held by Carolina (2011) and New York. (2013-2014) The silver lining for the Indy on the night was debut of Mexican international Gerardo Torrado as a second half substitute.

Rayo OKC 3-0 New York Cosmos

After a scoreless opening half, it didn’t take long for Rayo OKC to break through in the closing 45 minutes. The expansion side pulled ahead only four minutes out of the halftime break. New York’s Jimmy Ockford pulled down Futty Danso inside the box. Michel stepped to the spot to convert and Rayo OKC never looked back from there. Michel grabbed his second of the night and eighth of the year in the 65th minute with another dead ball opportunity, this time a free kick just outside the penalty. Striker Georgios Samaras then got in on the action deep into stoppage time with his first goal of the year when he received a cross from Derek Boateng in the center of the box and slipped it across the line.

Saturday’s loss is another to throw on the pile of poor away results from the Cosmos this year. They’ve now lost five of seven matches on the road, with their only two wins coming in Miami.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-0 Puerto Rico FC

Following their embarrassing loss in Carolina, the Rowdies rebounded excellently with their first three-point result of the Fall Season.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s tough three-game road stretch culminated with their first ever loss.

Veteran Joe Cole set the tone for the night with a spectacular strike in the 10th minute. Cole popped up a throw in from the right sideline with his chest inside the box and then elevated to direct the ball into the net with a perfectly executed bicycle kick. Midfielder Eric Avila did his best to match Cole, delivering a sizzling shot from 20 yards out that sailed straight into the top corner. With the result already secured heading into second half stoppage time, substitute Tommy Heinemann tallied his third of the year with a quick-fire shot from outside the box that caught the keeper by surprise and rolled into the net.

Carolina RailHawks 1-0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

The RailHawks dealt the Strikers their third straight loss in league action through a 23th minute goal from Brian Shriver. The attacker linked up with a flick from Matt Fondy to notch his fourth of the year.

The Strikers are now heading into their Quarterfinal showdown with the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup with little confidence or momentum. Striker Maicon Santos and PC both sat out the loss to Carolina with injuries. The South Florida side will have a tough time getting past Chicago if they can’t get at least one of those two back.

Miami FC 1-0 Jacksonville Armada FC

A straight red card to defender Beto Navarro for taking down Jaime Chavez on a breakaway chance put Jacksonville on their back heels in the 11th minute. Down a man on the road, Jacksonville did a solid job keeping Miami at bay until a deflection went in Miami’s favor in the closing moments of the match. Midfielder Ariel Martinez ripped a shot from outside the box that ricocheted off defender Karl Ouimette and fell directly to an onside Chavez, who promptly fired it into the back of the net to secure Miami’s first win of the fall.

FC Edmonton 1-0 Ottawa Fury FC

In a match devoid of much attacking creativity, a second yellow card to Edmonton center back Papé Diakité in the 60th minute gave a glimmer of hope to the visiting Ottawa. It was the Eddies, though, who ended up on the scoresheet and with all three points at the end of the day. The Eddies pushed past the one-man disadvantage and inserted attacker Sainey Nyassi into the match in the 76th minute. The substitution proved to be a deciding factor, as Nyassi delivered the cross in the 82nd minute that Nik Ledgerwood one-timed into the goal.