NASL Week 13: A Look Back

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By JOHN BOSCHINI

Goals were plentiful during the July 4th weekend highlighted by four-goal performances from the Puerto Rico Islanders and FC Tampa Bay.

The Islanders scored late to put away an Atlanta Silverbacks side that equalized twice from the spot, winning, 4-3, in a rain-delayed game in Atlanta. Ciaran O'Brien netted two penalty kicks for Atlanta because of two Puerto Rico handballs in the box.

Four players scored for FC Tampa Bay in a 4-2 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who saw their seven-game unbeaten streak snapped. It was the third time Tampa Bay has scored three or more goals this season, and the club is now level with Fort Lauderdale on 17 points.

Carolina extended its winning streak to 10 games with a straight-forward 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact. Nick Zimmerman scored his third goal in two games and the Railhawks increased their goals-scored total to 33. Montreal is now seven points adrift of a playoff spot.

Here is a look back at all the action in the NASL's Week 13:

Carolina Railhawks 2, Montreal Impact 0

A four-minute period was all Carolina needed on Saturday as Zimmerman and Pablo Campos scored mid-way through the first half.

Campos beat a poorly-executed offsides trap to tuck his sixth goal of the season past Evan Bush. Zimmerman beat a similar offsides trap in the 34th minute to score his fourth of the season with an assist from Johnny Steele. Carolina keeper Brad Knighton made three saves en route to his fifth shutout of the season.

Puerto Rico Islanders 4, Atlanta Silverbacks 3

Jonathan Fana's 90th-minute winner sunk an Atlanta Silverbacks side that can't seem to grind out results despite a noticeable uptick in play.

Aaron Pitchkolan opened the scoring the 27th minute with a headed goal off a David Foley cross. O'Brien's first penalty came shortly after to equalize following a handball in the box. The visitors retook the lead before halftime when Matt Bouraee blasted a shot past Jimmy Mauer.

After a extended halftime due to lightning, the game picked back up with the same offensive tempo. O'Brien equalized for a second time with a kick from the penalty spot before Junior Sandaval scored to put Atlanta into the lead. Foley scored from the spot to equalize at 3-3 before Fana's shot trickled past Mauer in the closing seconds.

FC Tampa Bay 4, Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2

Defense was nowhere to be found as FC Tampa Bay exploded for a season-high four goals.

Andrews Arango gave Tampa Bay an early lead with a goal in the 15th minute. Eduardo Coudet pulled the Strikers level with a goal in th 38th minute and the teams headed into the locker room all square.

Two quick goals from Pascal Millien and Aaron King delivered a knockout blow to the visiting Strikers. Mike Palacio scrounged a goal back for Fort Lauderdale but a 71st minute goal from Mike Ambersley ended any hopes of a comeback. Tampa Bay goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made nine saves in the victory.

NSC Minnesota Stars 1, FC Edmonton 1

The Stars kept their unbeaten record at home intact with a draw against second-place Edmonton. The Canadian side is now 13 points back of Carolina and have Puerto Rico challenging for second place.

A scoreless first half that saw few chances gave way to a much more open style of play after the break.

Alex Suprenant gave Edmonton the lead midway through the half with a deflected shot past Joe Warren. The Stars late-game pressure paid off in the final minutes when Rein Baart couldn't handle Tino Nunez's shot and Decin Del Do made no mistake with a rebound. This was Minnesota's seventh tie of the season.

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What did you think of the weekend's games? Impressed with Carolina? Can Puerto Rico continue its charge up the table? Disapointed Atlanta didn't get a result?

Share your thoughts below.

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11 Responses to NASL Week 13: A Look Back

  1. Reid says:

    That was my first 2nd division game ever and I was very impressed with the Railhawks play, crowd and facility.

    Looking forward to my next trip down to NC.

  2. sushant says:

    Curious why there is a reserve league (associated with MLS) and a 2nd division. Since there isn’t promotion / relegation, why not combine the two? It would give NASL more teams to play against and MLS Reserve a chance to see real competition.

    Anyone know why this isn’t allowed? Barc B plays in the 2nd division in Spain and it seems to work fine.

  3. CJ says:

    Because the soccer moms at USSF don’t have the balls or expertise to clearly define standards for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. divisions. They’re waiting for FIFA, adidas and MLS to tell them how to do it.

  4. NC Jeff says:

    There’s several reasons. The ones that I can think of are: 1) Attendance competition … the MLS reserve team would be drawing some fans away from the parent club (mostly, casual fans who just want to see a pro game), 2) The MLS reserves would routinely get drilled (even the senior MLS teams have enough trouble with NASL/USL teams, much less their reserve teams), 3) MLS fear … MLS is still fearful of being usurped (or even equaled by NASL/USL) and losing much of their investments, so they don’t really want to help the “competition.”

  5. NC Jeff says:

    At 12-1-1, a lot of people have been impressed with their play (by far, the most GF and fewest GA). I’m just enjoying it all before MLS scouts start looking at our players (and coaches) for next year. Hopefully, that process elevates CR in the minds of good available prospects as a place to advance your game.

    It is a REALLY nice facility … just maybe in a bad location for getting people out in an expeditious manner.

  6. Ivan says:

    Rowdies/Strikers game was amazing; 4,300 at the game, great atmosphere, lost of goals, and some quality football.

    Sorry MLS, but between artifical turf stadiums, shutting the door on promo/relegation (God forbid your corporate franchise structure gets violated), and still using that Jabulani abomination as a ‘ball’, there’s not much reason for me to follow your league.

    Sunil, Don, Bob: thank you for your service, but it’s time for you to go! With you in charge, US Soccer will continue to cruise in mediocrity.

    Oh, and if you think that “electing” Qatar to host the World Cup is bad, how about the idiocy of “promoting” the second worst team in NASL, the Montreal Impact, to the MLS next season?!?! Only in Don Garber universe is mediocrity being rewarded…what a joke!

  7. Reid says:

    But whats the deal with selling cans of beer. I can’t remember the last time i’ve seen that at a sporting event. I can see bad things happening at some point with a weapon like that in the stands.

  8. NC Jeff says:

    Looks like I was a bit too conservative with “MLS scouts” looking at our players for “next year.” Brad Rusin (CB) just got picked up by HB Koge of the Danish Superliga. Great for him, but definitely we’ll miss him.

  9. ericJ says:

    Your comment failed when you brought up Pro/Rel. Have fun with your 4.3 k people!

  10. Ivan says:

    Eric:

    Is promotion/relegation a No No in your wonderful world of “franchise” American sports? If that’s the case, I pity you. Tell me how exciting the 10-team playoffs are going to be this season. Can’t wait to see how deep can the Colorado Rapids go! Can’t wait to see the quality of play and the passionate fanbase of the New England Revolution(if not based on ticket sold but on actual attendance, they probably get 4-6K per game, if that). What a joke.

    I have heard all the arguments against pro/relegation, “the sport is new, structure is not there, the Galaxy wouldn’t want to risk dropping down a division”, and I am still not convinced. “Promoting” The Impact just because Uncle Joe has the $ to shell out goes against everything a sporting structure should be based on : merit.

    The US franchise sport system is so inherently unfair that I fear the prospect of Garber, an NFL protege, trying to mold the “premier” professional football league in this country after the other leagues (and you wonder why NBA and NFL are locked out at the moment).

    Yes, promo/relegation should be something professional football in the US strives; if not now, in the next 10-15 years or so.

  11. ericJ says:

    Please, keep pulling all of these numbers and assertions out of your a$$; you are making the argument for me.