NASL Fall Week 9 Recap: Historic Win Puts Cosmos Back on Top

IMAGE, NASL

by JAKE NUTTING

FC Edmonton’s (23 pts Fall, 40 pts Combined) nine-game winning streak at home came to an end with a disappointing scoreless draw against expansion side Puerto Rico FC.

Edmonton’s stumble was the New York Cosmos’ (23 pts, 41 pts) gain as they reclaimed the top spot in both the Fall Season and Combined standings. With Indy Eleven (20 pts, 38 pts) also only managing to scrounge up a point in their match with Ottawa Fury FC, it was an all around good weekend for the Cosmos.

The table is still incredibly close, though, and the Cosmos will have to defend their place at the top in a head-to-head meeting with Indy on Wednesday night in New York.

New York Cosmos 6-1 Carolina RailHawks

A goal from Matt Fondy after only five minutes on Saturday left the Cosmos trailing first for the fourth straight match. Like in those recent matches, the Cosmos rallied to earn a result but Sunday’s comeback against the Railhawks had a different feeling.

The first half ended tied at 1-1 thanks to an equalizer from Juan Arango only two minutes after Fondy’s strike. Following the halftime break the Cosmos ran roughshod over the visitors, scoring five unanswered goals with Carolina posing little to no threat.

Arango bagged his second of the night in the 58th minute with a clever chip over Akira Fitzgerald on a rebound opportunity. Costa Rican Jairo Arrieta¬†then recorded goals in the 60th and 82nd minute to match Arango’s brace. Arrieta’s first was a sensational chip shot from just outside the box that caught everyone in a RailHawks shirt off guard.

Midfielders Andres Flores and Sebastian Guenzatti added one each to bring the total to six, a modern era record total for the Cosmos in a single match.

FC Edmonton 0-0 Puerto Rico FC

After securing narrow 1-0 wins in their last four matches, Edmonton’s attack finally failed to pull through and find a goal on Sunday. The defense and keeper Matt Van Oekel did their job in securing the club’s 11th clean sheet of the year, but the Eddies came up short in trying to break down Puerto Rico’s defense despite controlling possession.

The unfortunate highlight of the match was a straight red card for Edmonton’s Sainey Nyassi in the final five minutes for a stomp on Ramon Soria. In the midst of a scuffle following the incident, Edmonton’s Nicolas Di Biase allegedly made a racial insult toward a Puerto Rico player in Spanish. The NASL has announced that is investigating the matter after Puerto Rico filed a formal complaint.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 Rayo OKC

The Rowdies are back in the win column and, to no one’s surprise, they have Joe Cole to thank for it. The English veteran continued his outstanding debut year in the NASL with two more goals, bringing his total since signing in late May to seven.

Cole’s night got off to a rocky start when his poorly taken penalty in the first half was snuffed out by keeper Daniel Fernandes. The match remained scoreless at the halftime break and it looked as if the Rowdies attack might be shut out for the third straight time despite creating plenty of scoring chances.

However, the breaks finally fell for the Rowdies when a shot from Cole clipped the foot of a defender and slipped across the line. Rayo OKC’s back line then fell apart on the second goal, allowing Cole to run unmarked into the box to pounce on a rebound from an initial shot by Georgi Hristov.

Miami FC 1-1 Minnesota United FC

Surprisingly, Saturday’s meeting between Miami and Minnesota saw the two sides finish scoreless in the first half. After the fireworks in their two matches earlier in the year, goals were much harder to come by this time around.

Miami’s Kwadwo Poku broke the deadlock in 51st minute when a cross from Calvin Rezende to the far post set him up for an easy tap across the line. Less than ten minutes later, though, Minnesota’s Lance Laing answered with a spectacular volley from the top of the box to best keeper Daniel Vega.

Ottawa Fury FC 1-1 Indy Eleven

Ottawa and Indy traded goals within a few minutes of each other midway through the second half to ultimately split a point. Tommy Stewart recorded his second goal of the fall for Ottawa in the 59th minute by heading home a free kick from Ryan Williams. Indy got on the scoresheet with a set piece as well after forward Eamon Zayed headed a free kick down for Brad Ring to volley into the back of the net.