NASL Week 5 Recap: Cosmos Back on Top, Eddies Closing In, more

IMAGE, FC EDMONTON

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos regained their hold on the top spot in the combined table on Saturday night with an emphatic 3-0 home win over Puerto Rico FC. The decisive result for the Cosmos set a NASL modern-era record of 10-straight wins at home, with the streak dating back to the end of last season.

New York may be back in control in the combined standings, but they have serious competition from FC Edmonton, who pulled even with the Cosmos at the top of the Fall Season table by clinching their eighth-straight win at home over the Carolina RailHawks.

Minnesota United FC and Indy Eleven missed their opportunity to keep pace with the Cosmos and Eddies. The Loons let three points slip away when they allowed Rayo OKC to notch a late equalizer, while Indy fell to expansion side Miami FC 2-1.

New York Cosmos 3-0 Puerto Rico FC

The Cosmos pulled ahead at the 16th minute mark thanks to an unfortunate own goal for the visitors. A cross meant for Yasmani Duk inside the box was redirected into the back of the net by a last-ditch effort from defender Cristiano Dias.

That lone goal appeared to be the only action on the scoresheet the match would see all night until the final stages. Juan Arango bagged his team-leading seventh goal of the year by converting an unmarked chance in the 84th minute, and Lucky Mkosana then recorded his fourth of the year through a counter attack in stoppage time.

Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Ottawa has quickly picked up momentum in the past few weeks. The Canadian side notched its third-straight victory through shutout by handling their business over the visiting Rowdies. Ottawa jumped ahead before the Rowdies even had a chance to get the bearings in the match as defender Mallan Roberts connected with a free kick into the box. The Rowdies dug themselves even deeper in the second half when an errant pass back from center back Tamika Mkandawire slipped by keeper Matt Pickens and rolled across the line.

Rayo OKC 2-2 Minnesota United FC

After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, Rayo OKC seized a lead in front of their home crowd in the 60th minute. Futty Danso got his head on the end of a free kick from Michel and the ball took a deflection off recent signing Devon Sandoval to find its way into goal. Minnesota then leveled the match only 11 minutes later through a spectacular header from defender Justin Davis.

Looking to steal all three points in stoppage time, Christian Ramirez bagged his league-leading 12th goal of the year after an incredible 29-pass sequence from the Loons to help set him up for the chance. The victory wasn’t meant to be, though, as Danso answered less than a minute later to ensure his side took something form the hard-fought match.

Miami FC 2-1 Indy Eleven

Miami delivered a swift blow to the Spring Season champions in the fourth minute. Forward Dario Cvitanich got on the scoresheet with his sixth goal of the year after slotting home a deflection off Kwadwo Poku in front of net. The expansion side maintained its narrow lead throughout the match and managed to double it over the visitors in the 85th minute when substitute Ariel Martinez powered a left-footed shot from the top of the box past the keeper.

Martinez’s strike proved critical, as Eamon Zayed found his finishing boots only four minutes later to tally his eighth goal of the year.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1-0 Jacksonville Armada FC

After an underwhelming half for both sides in the first 45 minutes, the Strikers took full control of the second half. Even with control, though, the Strikers could not find a way to put the ball into the net until in the 88th minute. Veteran Maicon Santos found the breakthrough when he controlled a cross in front of goal and blasted the ball past the helpless keeper. The win snapped a four-game losing skid for the Strikers and also ensured their time at the historic Lockhart Stadium ended on a positive note. Starting on August 20, the Strikers will host their remaining home games at Central Broward Stadium.

FC Edmonton 1-0 Carolina RailHawks

A lethal counter attack is becoming the bread and butter of FC Edmonton this year. In the 66th minute of Sunday’s match, Dustin Corea sparked a counter with a pass behind Carolina’s back line for Tomi Ameobi to run toward. The striker managed to collect the ball before it crossed the endline and sent in a perfect cross for Jake Keegan to tap across the line for his fifth of the year.