More on the
week of resurgence in the NASL in just a bit, but first, let’s take a closer
look at the team of the week, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (3-9-5).
For a long
time, it looked like the playoff picture was more or less set in the NASL, with
Montreal and Atlanta on the outside looking in. However, for the
first time in a while, the sixth-place Strikers have put themselves in a
position to begin looking over their shoulders at a streaking Atlanta team,
which sits just six points behind Ft. Lauderdale for the final playoff spot.
has done its share to open the door as of late. The Strikers have
not won a game since June 11, going 0-4-3 in the seven games
since, including a 3-1 loss at Puerto Rico last week. In the month
of July, it has been Ft. Lauderdale’s defense that has faltered the most,
allowing three goals or more in three of its four games, against Tampa Bay,
Atlanta and Puerto Rico. The only team during the month that they’ve
held under three goals in Montreal, the worst offensive team in the league,
resulting in a 1-1 tie.
has been the offensive spark for the Strikers this season, leading the team
with six goals and four assists. Martin Nunez, Brian Shriver and Abe
Thompson have each scored two goals apiece during the year.
Martyn Lancaster has provided a veteran presence in the backfield, although he
suffered an injury in the last game against Puerto Rico, which could be costly
for Ft. Lauderdale should he be forced to miss any time. Goalkeeper
Matt Glaeser is second in the league with four shutouts this season, including
one against Minnesota in June.
The next few
weeks should be interesting for Ft. Lauderdale. With Atlanta
starting to creep up, over the next five weeks the Strikers will face Edmonton
twice, Carolina twice and Minnesota once. In addition, they will
face Carolina a third time in September. Another matchup to keep an
eye on will be a home game against Atlanta on September 17, which
could potentially decide the last playoff spot. And now onto the match recaps
for the week…
Rico 3, Ft. Lauderdale 1
continued to impress with a big win over the Strikers, and while it might be
too late for the Islanders to make a run at Carolina for first-place in the
league, in a winner-takes-all playoff scenario, Puerto Rico could be the only
team suited to beat the RailHawks this year.
took an early lead in this one on an own goal in the seventeenth minute,
but Puerto Rico evened the match during stoppage time in the first half with a
Jarad Van Schaik goal. The Islanders controlled the second half,
taking the lead on a David Foley penalty kick, and Noah Delgado took advantage
of a red card issued to Ft. Lauderdale’s Eduardo Coudet, scoring goal off a
pass from Jonathan Fana.
now 8-5-4, sits in second place in the NASL with a four point lead over
Edmonton and Minnesota for third place.
1, Montreal 0
The Stars took
care of business on Saturday, bouncing back from their 1-0 loss to Puerto Rico
last week and edging a struggling Montreal team. It was Neil Hlavaty’s
penalty kick in the thirty-third minute that stood up throughout the
continued to struggle offensively, despite holding the advantage during the
match in shots (18-11), shots on goal (7-3) and corner kicks (5-3). It
was the tenth time that Montreal has been shutout in 17 games
The loss for
Montreal (now 2-6-9) moved the Impact into a tie for last place in the league
with Atlanta. Meanwhile, the Stars moved into a tie with Edmonton (6-7-4)
for third in the NASL.
4, Edmonton 1
After a recent
dip for the league’s top team (a loss at Minnesota and a tie at Edmonton),
Carolina bounced back with another dominating performance at home on Saturday,
where the temperature on the field surpasses 100 degrees.
Carolina had a
lot of early chances in this one, taking the lead on Pablo Campos’ first goal
of the game in the thirty-sixth minute. Campos extended the
lead to 2-0 in the sixty-seventh minute with his second goal of the
game, and an own goal for Edmonton made it a 3-0 game. Shaun Saiko
scored for Edmonton in the eighty-fourth minute to cut the lead to 3-1, but
Etienne Barbara sealed the deal with a late goal, his league-leading fifteenth of
named the NASL’s Offensive Player of the Week following his two goal
The game was a
feisty one, with the teams combining for 21 fouls, five yellow cards, and a
halftime shoving match in the tunnel. Carolina continues to pace the
league with a 13-2-2 record, while Edmonton is tied for third with a mark of
7-4-6 on the year.
2, Tampa Bay 1
up its biggest win of the season, continuing its recent turn around and running
its undefeated streak to three games (2-1-0 during the stretch). In
the process, the Silverbacks cooled off a red-hot Tampa Bay squad, which had a
four-match unbeaten streak coming into the game.
All of the
scoring in this one was in the first half, with Atlanta taking a 2-0 lead
behind a seventh minute goal from Junior Sandoval, and a beautiful header from
Ciaran O’Brien in the 41st minute from a long throw in from
Tyler Ruthven. Late in the first half, Tampa Bay was able to get on
the board when Aaron King deflected a shot off defender Mattias Schnorf,
finding the back of the net.
number of chances for Tampa Bay in the second half, Atlanta’s defense was able
to hold on for the victory with a few nice saves from keeper Jimmy Maurer and a
game-saving play by Ruthven, who cleared a ball off the line with a header,
preventing a Tsuyoshi Yoshitake equalizing goal. Ruthven was named
the NASL Defensive Player of the Week for his tremendous effort.
improved to 3-11-3 on the year, and moved into a tie for seventh with Montreal,
marking the first time this season that the Silverbacks have been out of last
place in the NASL. Tampa dropped to 5-6-5 with the loss.
Tampa Bay, 7:00 PM
Carolina, 7:00 PM
Ft. Lauderdale, 7:30 PM
at Montreal, 2:30 PM