NASL Week 2: A Look Back

CarlCortTampaBayRowdies1-NYCosmos (TampaBayRowdies)

By MIKE GRAMAJO

While one team continues their struggles at home, another learns from their first road match since 1984.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Cosmos battled to a scoreless draw, Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in front of an announced sold-out crowd of 7,032.

“It’s a very competitive league to play, difficult teams and Tampa made it very difficult,” Cosmos manager Giovanni Savarese said after the game. “We wanted to take the three points, but for the way the game finished, we’ll take these points which will help us out.”

The Cosmos had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes of the match, finding three scoring opportunities, though they came to no avail. Joseph Nane and Ayoze had the clearest chances to score in the 20th minute, with both hitting the crossbar, while Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo did the rest, making several crucial saves to preserve the shutout.

Despite the Cosmos having clear chances in the first half, the Rowdies answered back with a strong second-half performance. Forward Etienne Barbara entered as the game at halftime for Carl Cort and had a big impact for the Rowdies. As Restrepo’s acrobatic diving save in the 76th minute denied the Cosmos the lead, a Rowdies counter-attack followed which set up Barbara for the goal, but he was ruled offside.

The Rowdies finished the match with ten men when midfielder Luke Mulholland was given a second yellow card into stoppage time, but held on to the draw with the visiting Cosmos.

Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 2 action:

SILVERBACKS SECOND-HALF GOAL SALVAGES DRAW AGAINST RAILHAWKS

Kupono Low’s 72nd-minute goal insured the Atlanta Silverbacks a 1-1 draw against the visiting Carolina RailHawks on Saturday night.

RailHawks forward Brian Shriver missed a penalty kick in the ninth minute, with Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco making the save. However, Pedro Mendes’ shot outside the 18-yard box gave the Silverbacks a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.

After having the Silverbacks held the lead for much of the game, the RailHawks answered back with a goal themselves. RailHawks defender Kupuno Low’s header off a Ty Shipalane cross stunned the fans at Atlanta Silverbacks park as the visitors walked away sharing one point with the Silverbacks.

EDDIES TAKE HOME VICTORY OVER SCORPIONS

It didn’t take much  time for newcomer Corey Hertzog to open up his scoring account for FC Edmonton in a 1-0 victory against the San Antonio Scorpions.

The on-loan forward from the Vancouver Whitecaps needed just 15 minutes to score his first goal for the Eddies. Hertzog was able to go around two Scorpions defenders to put the ball in the net after Neil Hlavaty’s pass found the 23-year-old American.

“We kept the ball and played it simple, got the ball in the first half and defended really well,” Hertzog told NASL.com. “As long as we keep playing together we have a chance of scoring more goals. We just want to score goals, win every game, get to the top of the league and get in the final.”

UNITED ROUTE STRIKERS AT LOCKHART

After opening their fall season with a 1-0 home defeat to the Atlanta Silverbacks, Minnesota United brushed away the loss as forwards Max Griffin and Pablo Campos lead United to a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.

“It was an even game in the first half,” United coach Manny Lagos told NASL.com after the game. “The Strikers came on strong in the second half, like a home team normally would. Fortunately we got lucky on one and that helped us and in the end it was a good result for us.”

Griffin opened up the scoring for United in the 72nd minute after teammate finishing a great play from his teammate Campos. The lead doubled minutes later after defender Rafael Alves hit an own-goal for the Strikers.

Pablo Núñez cut the deficit to one for the Strikers in the 80th minute, but it was Campos who stole the show and sealed the victory for United after his strike three minutes into stoppage-time made it 3-1.

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NASL FALL STANDINGS 

                                                              GP W  T  L  PTS

  1. TAMPA BAY ROWDIES               2     1     1  0     4
  2. ATLANTA SILVERBACKS           2     1     1  0     4
  3. CAROLINA RAILHAWKS           2      1     1  0     4
  4. NEW YORK COSMOS                  2      1     1   0     4
  5. MINNESOTA UNITED FC          2      1     0   1      3
  6. FC EDMONTON                            2      1     0   1      3
  7. FT. LAUDERDALE STRIKERS  2      0    0    2     0
  8. SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS      2      0     0    2     0

 

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What did you think of Week 2? Do you think the Cosmos can pick up their first road victory next week at WakeMed Soccer Park? Can the Strikers and Scorpions get back to winning ways? Do you think the Rowdies will continue to struggle at home?

Share your thoughts below.

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10 Responses to NASL Week 2: A Look Back

  1. Ivan says:

    Went to the Rowdies game. Fantastic atmosphere: haven’t seen the stadium full since the final v. Minnesota last season.

    The weather was ungodly hot and humid. Welcome to Florida in August…

    Cosmos are a decent side. Senna bossed the midfield: the Brazilian-born European Cup winner with Spain is a class act, and he could have scored on a couple of occasions.

    Carl Cort was pretty poor up front for the Rowdies.The former Premier League player offers nothing but his size. He is clumsy, has an awful first touch and had only one half-decent chance for goal for the 45 minutes he played.

    Barbara was much much better: his movement off the ball was excellent, he worked hard and really wanted the goal (which he scored but was called back for an offside).

    In the Tampa/St. Pete area, I can now say that the support for the Tampa Rowdies has grown significantly over the last 3 years. And I couldn’t be happier.

    • Matt C says:

      Ivan, i agree with your assessment. However, i thought the play of the home-side Rowdies was pretty pathetic and lathargic. No energy. Nothing in the center of the park that bring confidence to the team.

      It was a great atmosphere, but i don’t think “the play” as easy on the eyes.

      Additionally, as much as i like Luke Mullholland, his second yellow was deserved and immature. Actually, he could have picked up his second yellow for another intentional handball about 30 seconds before the one he got.

      We need Campbell in the mix. Something’s gotta give. I see no energy… Then again, they did score 4 goals last week.

      • Ivan says:

        Matt:

        You never want to have the conditions as an excuse, but being in the stands for 90 + minutes was unbearable, and I can’t really imagine playing in those conditions.

        With that said, the Rowdies did have a poor showing on Saturday.

        They had a full house watching them and a solid NY Cosmos as their opponent.

        They are professionals and should be used to the Florida August weather.

        I agree on Campbell. He always brings a certain level of composure which is currently lacking in the middle.

        Who knows, maybe coach will stop playing his son and put Yamada back as a defensive midfielder (yeah, right)!

        Restrepo, the guy pulled several ridiculous saves. He is short and gets lost on corner kicks but has a great reflex and reads the game very well.

        I hope the Rowdies don’t go on another winless home streak to doom the fall season.

        COYR.

        • Matt C says:

          Yamada in midfield. Those were the days. Someone with composure on the ball.

          Can’t see Hill putting Yamada back there…but a boy can dream….

          agree on Restrepo. We’ve been blessed with excellent keepers.

    • Neal says:

      Agree that Cort was pretty poor up top

  2. Sean says:

    I wouldn’t call Mini-soda’s win a route. The Strikers bossed the game for large portions, but as the Strikers love to do – become a sieve and leak a cheap goal, add an own goal and the follies continue. Prior to either of those – we lived in their half – but failed to score – our Achilles heel for this year. We were unfortunate to get hit for the 3rd in stoppage as we looked for an equalizer, but that’s just our luck, lately!

  3. JF says:

    great to see NASL attendance rising. We need a strong D2. It’s vital to our growth as a soccer nation and for our national team.

  4. Dan in New York says:

    Love seeing these classic NASL rivalries continue today with, approximately, the same uniforms as back in the day.

  5. Jspech says:

    Gotta love the Cosmos work rate

  6. Nick says:

    Just a note..the railhawks scored the tying goal in the second half (low plays for the Hawks). The article has it flipped.

    And thank you for the nasl coverage. It’s good to see the growing league get some love.