NASL Week 8 Recap: Eddies on Top, Indy Slips Up

IMAGE, NASL

by JAKE NUTTING

Proving just how tight this year’s race in the NASL is, Indy Eleven (19 pts Fall, 37 pts Combined) has fallen to third in the Fall Season and Combined standings after losing just their third match of the year thanks to a late penalty for the Carolina RailHawks on Saturday.

The New York Cosmos (20 pts, 39 pts) and FC Edmonton (22 pts, 39 pts) both held on to secure winners late on the road, but it is the Eddies who now occupy the top spots in both league tables. In securing their fifth straight win, the Eddies now hold the longest winning streak in the NASL this year, one more than Carolina’s four-game streak to kick off the Spring Season.

FC Edmonton 1-0 Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Eddies grabbed the top spot in both the Fall Season and Combined standings thanks to the heroics of Matt Van Oekel. The Rowdies controlled the match throughout and peppered the keeper with nine shots on goals, but the veteran was in position to save every single one and to record his tenth clean sheet of the year.

The decisive strike in the match was an all too familiar one for the Rowdies. They conceded their sixth penalty of the Fall Season in the 74th minute after defender Darnell King was whistled for a challenge on Tomi Ameobi. Daryl Fordyce made easy work of the penalty conversion to secure three points on the road.

Carolina RailHawks 3-2 Indy Eleven

The RailHawks gave Indy a taste of their own medicine on Saturday night, finding a late winner from Omar Bravo to complete a comeback.

The two sides traded blows midway through the first half. Greg Janicki first put the visitors up with a header past Akira Fitzgerald, but Matt Fondy tied it up for Carolina only three minutes later with his fifth goal of the Fall Season.

Indy jumped ahead again in the 30th minute when forward Eamon Zayed converted a penalty after Drew Beckie was guilty of a takedown on Soulemayne Youla. The goal pulls Zayed to within one of league-leader Christian Ramirez in the Golden Boot race.

Defender Steven Miller leveled the match again early in the second half and the RailHawks finally found a lead deep into stoppage time when Indy conceded a penalty thanks to a handball from Brad Ring.

New York Cosmos 2-1 Puerto Rico FC

The Cosmos got off to a bumpy start in their first ever match at Puerto Rico FC. The home side’s most dangerous threat, Hector Ramos, bagged his seventh of the Fall Season in the 28th minute when the entire back line lost him on a through ball.

Unlike their previous road performances this year, the Cosmos rallied and took control in the second half. Jairo Arrieta leveled things up in the 62nd minute by pouncing on the ball after keeper David Meves failed to control it. Midfielder Andres Flores then provided the Cosmos with their second straight stoppage time winner with a long-distance strike that dipped down in front of Meves and then blew by him on the bounce.

Miami FC 2-1 Rayo OKC

Rayo OKC was sitting comfortably at home after taking a lead in the 25th minute through a finish from Robbie Findley. Miami, though, found their footing in the final minutes and charged ahead to take all three points.

Pablo Campos tallied the equalizer for the visitors in the 79th minute, slotting home a pass from Blake Smith. Notably, the goal was the veteran striker’s first of the year. Miami sunk the dagger deep into stoppage time, with Ariel Martinez sending a volley over the head of keeper Daniel Fernandes.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3-1 Ottawa Fury FC

Thanks to a remarkable shift from Amauri, the Strikers rolled to victory in great fashion in their first match at Central Broward Stadium. Amauri opened up the scoring in the 18th minute when he got on the end of a backheel from Jose Angulo. Ottawa quickly responded ten minutes later through Carl Haworth, but Fort Lauderdale turned on the engines in the 77th minute.

A sensational bicycle kick from Amauri put the Strikers back in front and they never relented. A few minutes later, disaster struck for Ottawa when Rafael Alves put the ball in his own net for an own goal, putting a draw out of reach.

Jacksonville Armada FC 0-0 Minnesota United

Jacksonville and Minnesota found it difficult to get anything done in the final third under the hot afternoon sun on Saturday. Neither side came away with many quality chances, if any, in the match. Jacksonville gained an advantage when Minnesota’s Ibson was sent off with a red card in the 77th minute, but they were too gassed by that point to exploit the situation and settled for a draw.