NASL Week 6 Recap: Indy, Edmonton Lead the Way

IMAGE, INDY ELEVEN/TREVOR RUSZKOWSKI

by JAKE NUTTING

Thanks to an implosion from Minnesota United FC (11 pts Fall, 27 pts Combined) against Miami FC (11 pts, 18 pts) and a disappointing draw for the New York Cosmos (14 pt, 32 pts) against Rayo OKC (13 pts, 25 pts), Indy Eleven (16 pts, 34 pts) and FC Edmonton (16 pts, 33 pts) finished week six tied atop the Fall Season table.

Indy completed a busy three-game week with six points, good enough for a shared lead in the fall title race and also a slim one-point lead over the Eddies in the combined standings. Edmonton kept pace with Indy by recording their third straight with a 1-0 result over Puerto Rico FC on the road.

Miami FC 4-0 Minnesota United FC

Minnesota’s attack has the reputation as one of best the NASL has to offer, but it was the revamped Miami lineup that produced all the fireworks on Saturday night. Midfielder Jonny Steele gave the visitors a lead in the 9th minute when his blast from outside the box took a fortunate deflection to beat keeper Steward Ceus. A breakdown in Minnesota’s back line in the 21st minute then made it 2-0 when Ariel Martinez smoothly converted a one-on-one with Ceus. Kwadwo Poku’s strike five minutes later to extend the lead to three was an exact mirror of Martinez’s goal. Aaron Dennis completed the rout with a low strike from 25-yards in the 87th minute.

Apart from the embarrassing amount of goals conceded by the defense, Saturday’s result was also the first time that Minnesota’s high-flying attack was shutout since week two of the Fall Season.

Indy Eleven 1-0 Ottawa Fury FC

After a match devoid of many quality efforts on goal from either side, Indy Eleven found a bit of magic in the first minute of stoppage time to seal all three points. A quick restart on a free kick gave the ball to Dylan Mares, who delivered a sensational cross to the far post that dipped down perfectly for Don Smart to charge in and flick through a tiny window of space between keeper Romuald Peiser and the post.

FC Edmonton 1-0 Puerto Rico FC

Perhaps the most impressive win of the weekend was notched by the Eddies. In a year when teams across the league have struggled to secure points on the road, the Eddies were the first visitors at Juan Loubriel Stadium in Puerto Rico to grab all three points. The winner came off the head of forward Tomi Ameobi in the 74th minute as he was left totally unchecked in front of goal to rise and redirect the ball past a helpless  David Meves.

Puerto Rico had a last-gasp effort to equalize in stoppage time when Rudy Dawson was left unmarked on a free kick into the area. The defender’s header was pushed just inches wide of the post, though.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

All the attention coming into Saturday’s meeting between the historic Florida rivals was the previous day’s announcement that the Rowdies had finally secured the transfer of PC — arguably Fort Lauderdale’s most talented player. PC ended up coming on as a late substitute to give him some minutes with his new teammates, but at the end of the night the story was about Tampa Bay’s Keith Savage and Matt Pickens.

On the same night that Savage was being honored for surpassing 100 appearances with the Rowdies, the midfielder jump-started his team five minutes into the second half with a strike that snuck just under the crossbar. Joe Cole added a second goal seven minutes later with a shot from the edge of that box that proved critical.

The Strikers clawed their way back into the match with a deft trap and finish from substitute Jose Angulo in the 70th minute. The stage was then set for an equalizer in the 75th minute when the Strikers won a penalty, but Pickens read Adrianinho all the way and denied the attempt with a diving save. The netminder came up with another clutch save in stoppage time when he stood tall to stymie Angulo on a volley from close range.

Jacksonville Armada FC 2-2 Carolina RailHawks

Matt Fondy kicked things off for Carolina against his former club in the ninth minute, burying a shot after combing with Omar Bravo. Fondy already has three goals for Carolina through only six appearances. Jacksonville responded well, finding two goals through Charles Elondou. The attacker tallied his first in the 19th minute off a cross from Lucas Scaglia, and he recorded his second in the 50th minute with an unassisted strike to the top corner.

Bravo, though denied Jacksonville victory when he headed home a cross from Steven Miller in the 68th minute. The draw snapped a five-game losing streak for Jacksonville but it wasn’t enough to save head coach Tony Meola, who was fired the following day.

New York Cosmos 1-1 Rayo OKC

Rayo OKC was supposed to be the team in crisis after the surprising resignation of head coach Alen Marcina on Thursday, but it was the Cosmos who looked behind the eight ball in the opening half. The expansion side was able to jump ahead of the home side in the 4th minute thanks to a cross from Billy Forbes and a brilliant finish from Georgios Samaras.

The visitors continued to dictate much of the first half, with the Cosmos only managing the scrounge up an equalizer through a dubious penalty call on defender Kosuke Kimura for an alleged tackle on Lucky Mkosana. Adam Moffat made easy work of the penalty conversion.

The second saw the Cosmos assert themselves with a higher tempo, however the finishing touch continued to elude them and they settled for a point.

  • Alex

    nice things are getting Better ..Lets go NASLLL