NASL Regular-Season Finale: What to Watch For

Emmanuel Ledesma, Michawl Kafari Image, NASL

nasl logoAs the North American Soccer League heads into final weekend of the regular season, there’s still much at stake for some teams. The Fall Season title race between Miami FC (9-3-3, 30 Fall; 20-5-6, 66 Combined) and the San Francisco Deltas (7-1-7, 28 Fall; 14-5-12, 54 Combined) has yet to be determined and the postseason positioning of the third and fourth seeds, as well as which team will be the one to clinch the final spot, is still up in the air.

Puerto Rico Finds Stride Before Facing Cosmos

A win this weekend at MCU Park will seal a postseason berth for the New York Cosmos (3-3-9, 18 Fall; 9-15-7, 42 Combined) for the fifth season in a row. If they do not beat Puerto Rico (4-7-4, 16 Fall, 5-16-10, 25 Combined), then they will have to see how Jacksonville does against San Francisco late Saturday night. New York has not dropped a match in seven outings against Puerto Rico and has already dismissed the Caribbean side twice this month. Puerto Rico, though, appears to have finally gotten back on track after being displaced by Hurricane Maria. After back-to-back wins in the last week, Puerto Rico may be up to the challenge of playing spoiler.

The Cosmos can also put pressure on North Carolina (5-2-8, 23 Fall; 11-9-11, 44 Combined) with a win. Three more points would lift them into third in the Combined Standings, leaving North Carolina in fourth heading into its match against Indy Eleven (3-9-3, 12 Fall; 7-13-11, 32 Combined) on Sunday. North Carolina would likely only need a draw to reclaim the third seed as it has a substantial lead on the Cosmos in goal differential.

Miami Looking for Season Sweep

Miami is aiming for a bit of history at home on Saturday. Alessandro Nesta‘s squad already set a single-season record for points last week when it knocked off Edmonton (3-7-5, 14 Fall, 7-18-6, 27 Combined). It can extend that record with another matchup against the Eddies this week and while becoming the first team to claim the NASL’s Spring and Fall Season titles in the same year. Now winless for over a month, the Eddies will have to summon whatever confidence they have left in the tank if they hope to thwart Miami. Being able to score would help. The Eddies have netted just 24 goals in 31 matches this year, by far the worst tally in the league. Miami’s league-leading defense has allowed just 27 goals all season.

Deltas, Armada Will Have Eyes Glued to Other Matches

San Francisco and the Jacksonville Armada (3-5-7, 16 Fall; 9-9-13, 40 Combined) will both be pulling for other teams early on Saturday before they square off that night. Jacksonville will have its fingers crossed for an upset in New York, while the Deltas will be rooting for the Eddies in south Florida. There could be plenty on the line for both sides if results fall their way. The Deltas could be battling for the fall title and Jacksonville might be fighting for the right to extend its year into the postseason. Only a win will do for either side if they want to achieve their respective tasks.