NASL Week 25: A Look Back

Regularseasonchampions

photo courtesy of San Antonio Scorpions

By FRANCO PANIZO

The celebration began even before kickoff and even that was not enough to stop the San Antonio Scorpions.

Having already clinched the NASL regular season title a day earlier because of the Tampa Bay Rowdies' failure to pick up three points, the Scorpions played to a 1-1 draw with Minnesota Stars FC in their regular season finale on Sunday. San Antonio scored early before giving up an equalizer in the second half, but that did not spoil the ensuing trophy presentation for the expansion Scorpions.

Now the Scorpions will aim to translate that success over to the postseason, where they are the No. 1 seed and have homefield advantage. San Antonio will get a bye in the quarterfinals and will await to face the lowest seed that advances to the semifinals.

Here is a look back at the rest of the Week 25 action in NASL:

EDMONTON SCORE TWICE LATE TO SPLIT POINTS WITH STRIKERS

If the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers were hoping to pick up some momentum ahead of the playoffs on Sunday, they failed miserably. The Strikers settled for a 2-2 draw with FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium despite having a two-goal lead going into the 89th minute. Elvir Gigolaj trimmed the deficit in the 90th minute and Paul Craig scored the tying goal in stoppage time to give the 1,392 Eddies fans in attendance a treat.

FOJO SCORES TO GIVE ISLANDERS TIE WITH SILVERBACKS

The Puerto Rico Islanders needed a second-half goal from Justin Fojo to prevent a loss in their season finale, tying the Atlanta Silverbacks 1-1 in front of a crowd of 1,507 at Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel on Saturday. Atlanta went ahead just before the half-hour mark on a goal from Danny Barrera, but Fojo equalized shortly after halftime to prevent the Silverbacks from getting a big result at the end of what has been a disappointing year. 

ROWDIES, RAILHAWKS PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW

The Tampa Bay Rowdies had a chance to put pressure on the San Antonio Scorpions and maybe even take first place in the NASL standings, but the second-place side put forth an underwhelming performance in a scoreless draw with the Carolina RailHawks. Each team had 13 shots but neither was able to find the back of the net in a game played in front of 7,310 fans at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday. Tampa Bay still earned a first round playoff bye but they did not finish atop the table.

NASL STANDINGS (bold teams have qualified for the playoffs)

1. San Antonio Scorpions (13-7-8, 47 points, +19 GD)

2. Tampa Bay Rowdies (12-7-9, 45 points, +7 GD)

3. Puerto Rico Islanders (11-9-8, 41 points, +2 GD)

4. Carolina RailHawks (10-8-10, 40 points, -2 GD)

5. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (9-10-9, 36 points, -6 GD)

6. Minnesota Stars FC (8-9-11, 35 points, +1 GD)

7. Atlanta Silverbacks (7-12-9, 30 points, -11 GD)

8. FC Edmonton (5-13-10, 25 points, -10 GD)

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PLAYOFF QUARTERFINALS

9/29 Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at Carolina RailHawks

9/30 Minnesota Stars FC at Puerto Rico Islanders

PLAYOFF SEMIFINALS

10/6-10/7 TBD at Tampa Bay Rowdies

10/6-10/7 TBD at San Antonio Scorpions

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What do you think of this weekend's NASL action? Which team is the hottest going into the postseason? Who do you see winning the first round playoff matches?

Share your thoughts below.

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7 Responses to NASL Week 25: A Look Back

  1. NC Jeff says:

    Carolina’s the complete opposite of what they were last year … coming on strong in the second half after a poor first half (0-4-5 in first 9 gms.). So, playing at home, while I’m obviously biased, I truly think they should win.

    As for MN and PR, tough one in my opinion … PR’s typically really good at home, but have kind of just treaded water recently and MN is just tough to fully put away. So, I’ll take PR, but in a PKSO.

  2. danielofthedale says:

    The fact that the Silverbacks were able to get a sniff of the playoffs is a testement to Eric Waynalda’s soccer knowldge. He saved the season and has help give the team and Org. some moment going into next season. We had the thrid most points in the league after he took over so I think a playoff spot is a resonalbe expection heading into next season, maybe as Chiefs instead of the Silverbacks.

  3. Matt C in Tampa says:

    NC Jeff. Sounds like my Rowdies continued with its “inspired play” up in Carolina.

    Though we have been able to win or tie, the departure of Yoshi Yoshitake has killed any offensive imagination.

  4. TimN says:

    I was at the Railhawks-Rowdies game on Saturday. Carolina realistically should have won 2, perhaps 3-0. Their midfield creativity was good, had several opportunities go just wide, and totally wiffed on a wide open look at the goal early on. I know the stats say each team had 13 shots, but Carolina’s opportunities were much better. Tampa Bay also played very physically, bordering on dirty. Late in the game Carolina had a fast break on goal and was pulled to the ground by a terminal defender…guy got a yellow, but it should have been a red.

    For the Railhawks to advance past Fort Lauderdale next Saturday, they’re going to have to finish their chances.

  5. GCScots says:

    Totally agree. He instilled confidence in the team. He inspired players and they were so much more competitive. Hopefully he stays on as coach and continues the development of Matty Horth. That kid is a stud and gets no love because his team is bad. All he does is score goals. Get him a contract man.

  6. Ivan says:

    Rowdies fan here…the team is entering the post-season with zero steam, imo…zero creativity up front, there’s so many games Attinella can save the team.
    I don’t like it, hope I am wrong, but I don’t see us winning the semi-final, regardless of the opponent.
    We haven’t won a home game in months, literally!

  7. The NASL looks interesting, I haven’t watched or kept up with it any but I will if I ever have the time.