NASL Notes: Indy Eleven Stadium Bill Fails, Rowdies, Scorpions Trade, Edmonton advances in Canadian Championship

IMAGE, INDY ELEVEN

by JAKE NUTTING
NASL Beat Writer

Indy Eleven Stadium Proposal Falls Through

The bill to finance renovations for Indy Eleven’s current home on the IUPUI campus died on the final day of Indiana’s legislative session, failing to clear a conference committee.

The bill would have used tax money captured at the stadium and a hotel being built by team owner, Ersal Ozdemir, to finance a $20 million renovation. Ozdemir and the school would have been on the hook to pay for any additional amount over that initial $20 million.

It appears that everyone involved with the discussions felt they were on a positive track, but after the bill changed in the Senate to focus on renovations, it was impossible to get all the details worked out in time.

The original bill introduced and passed in the House called for construction of a new stadium in the downtown area. That proposal was deemed too ambitious and the Senate amended the bill to focus on the renovations.

“While we are disappointed in the final outcome from the Indiana General Assembly, we are encouraged by the widespread support that was gained in both houses. Nevertheless, we will endeavor to return and build upon the support generated at the Statehouse and that of our loyal fan base.

“We look forward to continuing Indy Eleven’s successful second season with our partners at Indiana University on the campus of IUPUI.” said Indy Eleven President Peter Wilt.

Edmonton Bests Ottawa in Canadian Championship

FC Edmonton are now the sole Canadian NASL team left in the Amway Canadian Championship after a 3-1 victory – 6-2 on aggregate – over Ottawa Fury FC in the second leg of the preliminary round.

Wednesday’s match wasn’t quite as lopsided as the score might suggest. Edmonton came out swinging after the opening whistle and scored two goals within 15 minutes. Winger Lance Laing played a hand in both goals with excellent service into the box to find teammates. The first goal was notched by Tomi Ameobi tapping in a rebound off Romuald Peiser’s initial save in the 8th minute. In the 15th, Laing found fellow winger Sainey Nyassi unmarked on the back post. Nyassi wasted no time getting his shot off to put the game further out of reach.

The Fury fought and scraped to stay in the match and produced their fair share of chances. In the 33th minute, they pulled one back when Carl Haworth found Andrew Weidman on a counter attack. The visitors cried for a penalty when Weidman was taken down in the box on another breakaway just before halftime, but no call was given.

The final blow came in the 60th minute when Daryl Fordyce buried a penalty for the Eddies.

Edmonton now hosts MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the semi-final round on May 6. The ultimate prize of the competition is a spot in the 2016-2017 CONCACAF Champions League.

Rowdies and Scorpions Strike a Deal to Remedy Weaknesses

Trades between NASL teams are rare occurrences, but after only four weeks of action in 2015, Tampa Bay and San Antonio have already struck a deal. The Rowdies send 6’4″ centerback Brad Rusin to the Scorpions in exchange for 24-year-old midfielder Richard Menjivar. Both sides make out well in the deal, gaining depth in vulnerable areas on the field while only giving up players where they already have depth.

From San Antonio’s perspective, they get necessary help on the back line from a defender with physicality and a wealth of experience in North America and Europe. After giving up 7 goals in only three matches this season, the Scorpions are hoping that Rusin can make an immediate contribution. Rusin should be fit and ready to go after an extensive preseason with Tampa Bay.

The Rowdies are off to a solid start in 2015, but after losing midfielder Keith Savage to a season ending ACL injury, they have struggled to control the game in midfield on a few occasions. At only 24, the box-to-box midfielder has made over 40 appearances in the NASL and 20 for El Salvador. After starting in last year’s Soccer Bowl, Menjivar only played 14 minutes for the Scorpions in 2015. So he should be coming into Tampa Bay hungry for more playing time.

Carolina Railhawks ‘Call Up’ a Young Midfielder

The Railhawks have signed Jamie Dell from their U-23 squad to a professional contract. The 22-year-old midfielder is a local product through and through. Along with his U-23 connection, he attended high school in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington.

Head Coach Colin Clarke believes the youngster has potential to develop into a professional after impressing with the U-23 squad, but Dell may be asked to contribute sooner rather than later. The Railhawks are suffering from injuries across the roster, which is unfortunate for any team, but it’s even more troubling for a team that is already operating with limited player resources.