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.
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.