NASL Week 8: A Look Back

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Offenses struggled to make and impact this weekend in the NASL as five of the six teams in action failed to find the back of the net.

The Carolina Railhawks were the lone exception with a 2-0 victory over the still-struggling Atlanta Silverbacks. Etienne Barbara's scoring streak was snapped at eight games but Barbara provided assists for both goals and Carolina extended its winning streak to five games.

The NSC Minnesota Stars took over second place in the NASL table with a 0-0 draw with FC Tampa Bay. It was a game ruled by goalkeepers Joe Warren and Jeff Attinella. FC Tampa Bay is now level on points with the Puerto Rico Islanders, having played two games more.

The Ft. Lauderdale Strikers managed their second shutout of the season against a struggling Montreal Impact. Both teams still have only one win on the season.

Here is a look back at the action in the NASL.

Carolina Railhawks 2, Atlanta Silverbacks 0: Both teams wasted a plethora of chances until late goals from Pablo Campos and Allan Russell sealed the victory for Carolina.

Both teams came out firing early on. Carolina keeper Brad Knighton was put under pressure in the first 20 minutes but a couple of class saves kept the game scoreless. The Railhawks thought they had opened the scoring just before halftime but Campos was whistled for a handball after directing a Barbara cross into the net.

The second half was much of the same with neither team finishing off their chances until Campos' diving header beat Felipe Quintero to his far post. With Atlanta pushed up the field, Carolina capitalized for an insurance goal when Barbara found Russell alone in front of goal for the simple tap in.

Carolina extended its lead at the top of the NASL table to nine points over the NSC Minnesota Stars.

NSC Minnesota Stars 0, FC Tampa Bay 0: Minnesota unveiled its new kit on Saturday night but couldn't find a way through a stingy Tampa Bay defense, settling for a 0-0 draw.

Both teams had a handful of chances throughout the game but Warren and Attinella were up to the task. The best chance for either team came in the 75th minute when Takuya Yamada cleared a headed effort off the line. Minnesota ended the game with 20 shots while Attinella recorded six saves.

Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 0, Montreal Impact 0: It was a matchup of Ft. Lauderdale's struggling defense and Montreal's struggling offense and it ended as a draw with both teams squandering a handful of chances.

Montreal's best chance came early in the second half when Idriss Ech Cherqui rattled the crossbar. Montreal has scored only once in its past three games and is still second from bottom in the NASL table. Ft. Luaderdale is now unbeaten in six of its last seven games but has managed only one win in that time frame. 

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What did you think of the weekend's action? Impressed with Carolina's performance? Disappointed there wasn't more offense on display?

Share your thoughts below.

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5 Responses to NASL Week 8: A Look Back

  1. JJ says:

    Somebody sign Etienne…man can score!

  2. brant says:

    ^ odd that JJ makes comment during the only game so far this year when he *didn’t* score! :-D

  3. yankiboy says:

    Etienne is dominant offensive player at the 2nd division level right now. No doubt about it. Carolina looks good. Real good.

  4. NC Jeff says:

    True, but not only was he dangerous, he had TWO assists in a 2-0 game. That’s something I like about hockey – you get an assist, you’re still credited with a “point.” A perfect May (5-0) … tough June though – lots o’ road games.

    Gotta believe somebody comes in with an offer EB and the Railhawks can’t refuse. Surprised that he doesn’t play much for Malta’s MNT – don’t know if they don’t want him, or if it’s just that he doesn’t see the point.

  5. bayonetbrant says:

    I know about the assists… was trying to be humorous about Barbara scoring :P

    He’s not playing for Malta’s MNT b/c of a personal issue the coach has with him. EB was killing the Maltese league when the current MNT coach was hired by his club team; suddenly EB was parked on the bench. He got out of Malta and came to the Carolina, but now his old club coach is the MNT coach, and EB is still frozen out.