NASL Week 3: What to Watch For

IMAGE, MATT SCHLOTZHAUER

By JAKE NUTTING

imagesMiami FC and the Jacksonville Armada enter the third week of the NASL Spring Season as the only teams to have registered wins. All eight teams will be in action this weekend as the San Francisco Deltas and North Carolina return from their week off.

Frequent Foes

Quick rematches will be frequent throughout the NASL season. This week brings the first rematches of the year as all three matches from Week 2 will be repeated. Along with intriguing tactical change ups from week to week, the lack of time to cool off in between return matches could also lead to higher tension in the compact eight-team league.

Cosmos Early Scoring Drought

New York was only held scoreless in back-to-back matches once last season. Heading in Week 3, the Cosmos have already been blanked twice and have yet to record a shot on goal. After leading the league with 59 goals last year, the Cosmos are in dire need of a spark. Amauri has looked ineffective up top and Salvadoran attacker Irvin Herrera is still questionable after picking up an injury in Week 1. Can anyone in Coach Giovanni Savarese’s attack step up to ignite the attack?

Same Home, New Name for Miami

Miami’s roster isn’t the only thing the owner Riccardo Silva splashed cash on in the off-season. The Italian media mogul gave $3.76 million to Florida International University’s athletic department to install new turf and a 1,800-square foot videoboard at the stadium the team shares with the university’s football team. Silva’s investment also paid for naming rights to the stadium, which has been renamed Riccardo Silva Stadium. Now that Silva’s name is on the marquee, he’ll hope his team can earn a better home record. Miami finished last year with 6W-6L-4D at home, leaving 26 of a possible 48 points on the table. After knocking off New York, 3-0, Miami should be riding high heading into the rematch.

Speas and Ramos, Early Difference Makers

Indy Eleven’s Ben Speas and Puerto Rico’s Hector Ramos are proving they’re capable of carrying their team’s attack. Speas has replicated his fast start with Minnesota last year with two assists, a goal and a league-leading seven scoring chances created in the first two matches. With six scoring chances created, Ramos is second in the NASL and returned to his hot Fall Season form last week by notching a goal and an assist in the 3-3 draw in Indy.

Deltas Reach Out to Raider Nation

The San Francisco Deltas had a solid inaugural crowd of 4,133 in Week 1, but the expansion team is looking to build off it. As the Oakland Raiders prepare to leave the Bay Area for Las Vegas the region’s newest sports team is angling to attract disaffected Raiders fans to the stadium where the football team played its first season. The San Francisco Deltas are offering $15 tickets for nearly any seat at Kezar Stadium to fans who use the code RAIDERNATION when buying tickets for Saturday’s match against North Carolina FC. One third of ticket sales for the match will also be donated to retired NFL star Marshawn Lynch’s Fam 1st Family Foundation, which provides mentoring to children in Oakland.