By MIKE GRAMAJO
It’s getting a bit rowdy in the North American Soccer League standings.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies defeated the Carolina RailHawks, 3-2, on Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium to ensure first place in the league standings, while also keeping head coach Ricky Hill’s side unbeaten in the fall season.
“We were fortunate to come across that late goal,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill told NASL.com. “It is great for the fans and it is a morale boost for our players. We created chances and luckily we were able to get the three points.”
After back and forth action for most of the game, which saw the RailHawks and Rowdies exchange leads, it wasn’t until stoppage-time that the St. Petersburg side found victory. RailHawks defender Paul Hamilton’s failure to clear a Lucky Mkosana cross gave the Rowdies the clear opportunity for the win in the dying seconds of the game, as Hamilton put the ball into his own net.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 6 action:
SCORPIONS AND STRIKERS SCORELESS AT LOCKHART
While one team is still looking for their first victory since July, the other had no problem drawing despite failing to take sole position atop the NASL standings.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who are now four-games unbeaten, played to scoreless draw against the winless San Antonio Scorpions at Lockhart Stadium.
“San Antonio has just been unlucky in their past games, they’re a better team than their record,” Strikers manager Günter Kronsteiner told the clubs website. “They came here fighting, so it wasn’t an easy game for us. We have to win these games, there’s no excuse.”
With the match being scoreless, Strikers goalkeeper Richard Sanchez proved why he’s an important figure to the South Florida side, making crucial saves that denied Scorpions forward Hans Denissen and defender Walter Ramirez from giving the Texas club the lead in the first half.
UNITED AND EDDIES TAKE ONE POINT
After Cristiano Dias put Minnesota United up 1-0 in the 76th minute at the National Sports Center Stadium, it looked like FC Edmonton’s unbeaten streak dawned an end. Corey Hertzog, however, made sure that didn’t happen.
Just moments later, the Vancouver Whitecaps loanee broke free from Minnesota’s backline and finished off Antonio Rago’s cross to level the match 1-1.
“It was more two points lost instead of a point gained,” said Edmonton coach Colin Miller told NASL.com. “It was some shocking defending on our part off the corner to give up the goal, but credit to the lads for the response.”
SILVERBACKS DRAW AT COSMOS
There was no late-game drama, but the New York Cosmos were able to draw the Atlanta Silverbacks despite statistically being the better team in the match.
“Every game the team looks better,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese told NASL.com. “I think today was probably our best game so far. We completely dominated the ball, we created chances, they only had one opportunity, which was the goal. I see the team maturing very much.”
Midfielder Marcos Senna put the Cosmos up early in the scoresheet, converting a penalty kick in the latter minutes of the first half. The lead would soon fade away, as Pablo Cruz’s free kick in the 49th minute found defender Shane Moroney, who headed in the ball behind goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
- Tampa Bay Rowdies – 10 points
- Ft. Lauderdale Strikers – 10 points
- Carolina RailHawks – 10 points
- New York Cosmos – 9 points
- Minnesota United – 8 points
- Atlanta Silverbacks – 7 points
- FC Edmonton – 7 points
- San Antonio Scorpions – 1 points
What did you think of Week 6? Are you surprised to see the Rowdies back on top? Can the Strikers continue their unbeaten streak? Can the Cosmos reach the top of the table? Do you think the Silverbacks will be ready for the Soccer Bowl?
Share your thoughts below