NASL Week 12 Recap: Ottawa Reaffirm Fall Dominance, More

IMAGE, FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS

by JAKE NUTTING

Ottawa Fury FC (28 pts Fall, 39 pts Combined) kicked off a three-game road trip in style with a rousing 2-0 victory over the streaking Fort Lauderdale Strikers (20, 31). The result snapped Fort Lauderdale’s six-game unbeaten run and it was also Ottawa’s second shutout against the Strikers in as many weeks.

Minnesota United’s (26, 40) inability to earn all three points at home against the New York Cosmos (23, 43) allows the Fury to regain full control of the Fall Season standings. From the Cosmos perspective, the closely contested road draw allows them to maintain their top spot in the combined standings.

While the Strikers disappointed at home, the Tampa Bay Rowdies (14, 33) easily dispatched the traveling San Antonio Scorpions (13, 25) to once again leapfrog their instate rivals to take the final playoff spot.

The Rowdies cannot rest on their laurels, though, as FC Edmonton (22, 31) earned three critical road points over Indy Eleven (12, 25) this weekend for their second straight win. One bad result could see both the Eddies and Strikers jump ahead of the Rowdies in the playoff hunt.

Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 Carolina RailHawks

It must be getting tougher for the Carolina RailHawks to look themselves in the mirror. The club’s playoff hopes are fading fast and there is no one to blame other than themselves.

Carolina managed to once again surrender an early lead and finish with no points to show for the effort.

Luck seemed on the side of Carolina when the visitors jumped ahead after only one minute of play when Atlanta keeper Steward Ceus’ errant clearance deflected off Tyler Engel and bounced across the line.

The eventual collapse came halfway through the opening 45 after an injury forced defender Futty Danso out of the match. In the 31st minute, Jaime Chavez centered to Pedro Mendes just inside the box and the attacker fired a quick shot that Akira Fitzgerald got a hand on, but squeaked by him anyway. Chavez set up the game-winner as well in the 36th minute when he laid a ball for Kyle Porter at the top of the box and the midfielder’s one-timed shot blew past a crowd of defenders and Fitzgerald.

Ottawa Fury FC 2-0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

Fort Lauderdale found the task of breaking down the sturdy Ottawa defense equally as difficult as it was last week in Ottawa. The Strikers brought numbers forward in the first half but were prevented from many penetrative opportunities in the penalty area.

After a timid opening half, the visitors cranked up their attacking efforts to try and nab a road result. They were rewarded in the 52nd minute through an outstanding pass from Sinisa Ubiparipovic to set up former Striker Aly Alberto Hassan for a near post finish.

Fort Lauderdale’s comeback took a fatal blow in the 72nd minute when PC was ejected after his second yellow card. Ottawa was able to extend the lead in the 81st minute by exploiting the Strikers on the counter with a long distance effort from Ubiparipovic. The result snapped Fort Lauderdale’s six-game unbeaten run.

FC Edmonton 2-0 Indy Eleven

Indy and Edmonton traded a few sparse shots in the first half before the Eddies took complete charge in the second half. Lance Laing set up the go-ahead goal in the 55th minute with an excellent low cross. Daryl Fordyce received the cross well and took a touch to open up space before powering the ball past the keeper. The visitors grabbed an insurance goal in the 85th minute when a botched Indy clearance fell to Sainey Nyassi just outside the box and the attacker one-timed a shot to ensure all three points.

Indy’s third scoreless effort in their last four outings is a huge blow to the clubs’ postseason chances.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 San Antonio Scorpions

The Rowdies were a team determined to show how desperately they want to remain relevant in the postseason chase. The home side came out with tremendous energy in the opening minutes to produce two apparently valid goals. The assistant referee, though, raised a late offside on Corey Hertzog both times, despite the fact that the attacker was clearly onside for both sequences.

Tampa Bay was not deterred by the blown calls and was able to completely eliminate the counter attack threat of what frankly looked like a very disinterested Scorpions side. Rowdies keeper Matt Pickens wasn’t forced to make a save the entire night.

Hertzog eventually got some justice when he converted a penalty from a handball in the 50th minute. Midfield general Juan Guerra was able to add one for good measure in the 88th minute by burying a rebound opportunity.

Minnesota United FC 0-0 New York Cosmos

The chances came for both New York and Minnesota in Saturday’s top of the table clash, but both sides were stifled by some stellar goal keeping and, in the case of the Loons, perhaps a wrongful handball call.

Minnesota keeper Sammy Ndjock was forced to parry a deft header from Lucky Mkosana less than two minutes into the match. Ndjock also came up big for his side in the second by coming off his line to squash two promising attacks for Andres Flores and making a point-blank save on Raul when a corner fell to the far post.

The visiting keeper, Jimmy Maurer, also put in a noteworthy performance to keep his team level. He managed to make two crucial saves on short range efforts from Minnesota’s leading scorer Christian Ramirez in each half and also knocked a quick shot from Alejandro Vela away in the dying moments of the match.

Minnesota’s Daniel Mendes had what might have been the game winning goal midway through the second half, but he was whistled for handling the ball while trying to control the free kick into the box. The broadcast replay, though, showed that Mendes may in fact have used his head instead of his arm to trap the ball.

  • Bushwick Bill

    Cosmos are headed straight for the MLS cup

  • William

    oh yes !!!!

  • Terry

    They need to improve their offense…”put the puck in the net” so to speak

  • William

    Cellerino should help and they haven’t been playing Fernandes he is key he has a nose for the ball and putting the ball into the goal.