By MIKE GRAMAJO
With his five goals on the season, forward Brian Shriver looks to lead the Carolina RailHawks when they visit the Atlanta Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday in North American Soccer League action.
The RailHawks, who sit three points clear atop the NASL table, are entering this weekend’s play after mauling the San Antonio Scorpions, 5-2, last week.
Both Minnesota United FC and the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are both winless in their last two games, are eying to snap their respective skids. The Rowdies sit second in the table, while United are right behind them in third.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers picked up their first win of the season last Saturday, defeating United, 2-1, at Lockhart Stadium, but it’s the Scorpions who are in the hot seat. The Texas club have yet to win this season and to make things even worse, they have yet to taste victory in their new stadium, Toyota Park.
Here’s a closer look at Week Seven’s NASL matches:
RAILHAWKS BATTLE SILVERBACKS
The RailHawks remain the only team unbeaten this season and along with Shriver’s goal scoring efforts, the Carolina side are looking to further their three-point lead in the table.
We are expecting another tough match on Saturday night,” RailHawks manager Colin Clarke said on the team’s website ahead of their clash against Atlanta on Saturday. “Any road game is going to be tough. Both sides have put the ball in the back of the net so far this year and I think the fans watching Saturday night are going to see an exciting match.”
The Silverbacks are winless in three games, which has dropped them to fifth place in the table, three points above the last place Strikers. .
NASL CHAMPIONSHIP REMATCH
Last season’s second place finishers United surprised everyone with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Strikers. With the first half of the season nearing its completion, they’ll need to get back onto track when they face the Rowdies in a Championship game rematch at the Metrodome in Minneapolis on Saturday.
“These two matches versus Minnesota are key in the final stretch for the Spring Season title and our players know that,” Rowdies manager Ricky Hill told NASL.com. “Minnesota will be out for revenge from last year’s loss in the finals, but we are prepared to go into these two games and hopefully come away with the six points.”
Despite dropping points, both teams can still reach the summit of the NASL standings if the RailHawks lose on the road against the Silverbacks.
SCORPIONS AND STRIKERS IN NEED OF POINTS
The winless Scorpions return home to Toyota Field in search of a key win, and they may have their best chance when they host the sixth-placed Strikers on Saturday. The hosts will need forward Hans Denissen to step up big and add to his two goals this season.
“We know San Antonio is going to be ready for this game because they probably feel the same way we do,” Strikers manager Daryl Shore told Strikers.com. “If we don’t get a result then it’s going to be hard to catch Carolina and the other teams ahead of us,”
With the Strikers sitting on four points and the Scorpions on two points, both sides have a chance to gain some momentum heading into the end of the spring season.
Who do you think will triumph in Week 7 of the NASL? Can the Scorpions and Strikers turn things around? Can the RailHawks continue their fine form? Share your comments below.
Share your thoughts below.