NASL Week 12: What to Watch For

FC Edmonton celebrates one of its four second-half goals in Wednesday's comeback win over the Cosmos. Image, NASL

By JAKE NUTTING

NASL logoMiami FC (6-1-3) maintains its comfortable lead heading into the weekend after the New York Cosmos (4-2-4) kicked off Week 12 of the North American Soccer League’s Spring Season by squandering their match in hand with a calamitous 4-2 loss to FC Edmonton (3-6-1) on Wednesday night.

The teams hoping to catch Miami are running out of time. Miami’s five-point lead over New York and the Jacksonville Armada (4-2-4) isn’t bulletproof, but it’s getting harder to see anyone able to slow down the South Florida side with six matches to play.

Vulnerable Cosmos Host North Carolina

History is on the side of the Cosmos this weekend — they’ve beaten North Carolina FC (4-4-2) six straight times, but other numbers might not be. The Cosmos will be significantly short-handed on Saturday afternoon for their second in a three-match homestand at MCU Park. In addition to the red-card suspensions of midfielder Juan Guerra and center back Darius Barnes, the Cosmos must fill the holes left by Irvin Herrera, Richard Menjivar, and defenders David Ochieng and Dejan Jakovic all away on international duty. Guerra notched the lone goal in New York’s win in North Carolina last weekend.

To get revenge for last week’s defeat, North Carolina will aim to get its attack back on track. Last week’s scoreless shift against the Cosmos was the first time Coach Colin Clarke‘s team had been blanked this season.

Deltas Makes First Trip to Caribbean

After a rough start to the year, Puerto Rico FC (1-5-4) earned its first win in a decisive 3-0 result over Edmonton. Puerto Rico gets to stay at home as it looks to build off the victory, though that might not be such an advantage with the San Francisco Deltas (3-2-5) in town. Coach Marc Dos Santos‘ Deltas are unbeaten in five road matches so far as they make their first trip to the Caribbean. The expansion team proved it wasn’t a pushover again last week with a two-goal rally in the final minutes to get a draw with Indy.

Armada and Indy Each Need a Win

It’s starting to get lonely for Indy Eleven (0-3-7) at the bottom of the standings — it is the only team without a win. Edmonton and Puerto Rico both picked up confidence boosting wins within the past week, while Indy is still in search of one after watching a two-goal lead evaporate in the dying moments last week. Despite being much higher in the standings, Jacksonville should be as eager to notch a win this weekend. Jacksonville has little room for error in the Spring Season if it hopes to erase Miami’s lead at the top of the table. Winning against Indy hasn’t always been so easy for the Jacksonville, though. The Armada’s last victory over Indy was in May 2015, the same month that the team launched.

Edmonton Hoping for a First Against Miami

Edmonton’s 4-2 comeback win over the Cosmos is a boon to a team that was in serious need of one. Before the match, the Eddies had only scored five goals all season and were even on points with Indy and Puerto Rico at the bottom of the standings. They will need all the positivity they can get as they get set to host Miami FC. In four previous encounters with Miami, Edmonton has never scored a goal or earned a single point. Miami has won its last four matches away from home, though this weekend’s clash in the Canada will be the longest trip it has taken this year.