By MIKE GRAMAJO
Despite their road woes, life at home has been solid for the New York Cosmos as they went on to defeat Minnesota United FC, 1-0, on Saturday night to send them atop the North American Soccer League standings.
“We find ourselves in a good situation,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese told NASL.com. “There are still seven more games to play, and we still have to work very hard on every match, but I think the effort in the players has been tremendous so far.”
After a scoreless first half, midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti gave the Cosmos the game winning goal in the 77th minute when he headed in a cross from defender Hunter Freeman.
United, who sit in sixth place with eight points, snap their two-game unbeaten streak and continue their road trip when they visit FC Edmonton on Sunday.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 7 action:
STRIKERS MISS TOP, DRAW AT EDMONTON
Controversy struck at Clarke Stadium, as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers rallied to draw FC Edmonton, 1-1 on Sunday.
The Eddies struck first before halftime when Lance Liang’s free kick was called back after windy weather rolled the ball out of place. A second attempt on the free-kick lead to the Eddies getting on the scoresheet, which moments later saw the referee sent off Strikers manager Gunter Kronsteiner, assistant coach Ricardo Lopes and midfielder Walter Restrepo (on the bench).
Despite missing their coaching staff in the second half, Yaikel Perez leveled the match for the South Florida, which kept their unbeaten streak to five games.
ROWDIES DRAW IN CAROLINA
Austin Da Luz’s 89th minute goal made sure the Carolina RailHawks drew 2-2 against the visiting Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Ty Shipalane put the RailHawks up a goal first, scoring in the 30th minute when his shot went past Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. However, Evans Frimpong level the match in the 72nd minute and Jay Needham gave the Rowdies the lead two minutes later when he headed in a cross from Luke Mulholland.
Just when it seemed as the Rowdies were going to hand the RailHawks their first home defeat in 2013, Da Luz fired a shot outside the 18 yard line to level the match at the death as Colin Clarke’s remained unbeaten at WakeMed Soccer Park.
SILVERBACKS WIN, TOP SCORPIONS
For the first time since August, the Atlanta Silverbacks picked up their second victory in the fall season, defeating the San Antonio Scorpions, 2-1, at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
“These guys know where to find each other and when you see that, you can sit back and relax,” Silverbacks manager Brian Haynes told NASL.com. “We wanted to make sure that when the game got to 2-0, we defended the lead and won the game.”
Ruben Luna scored the Silverbacks opener in the 13th minute when Danny Barrera’s free kick found the Mexican youth international, who finished off the play for the 1-0 lead. Barrera doubled the Silverbacks’ lead in the 50th minute when Luna returned the favor, as he served Barrera to fire a shot in the top corner. Scorpions forward Hans Denissen cut the deficit in the 66th minute, but the Silverbacks were able to hold on to the lead for the victory.
1. New York Cosmos – 12 points
2. Tampa Bay Rowdies – 11 points
3. Carolina RailHawks – 11 points
4. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers – 11 points
5. Atlanta Silverbacks – 10 points
6. Minnesota United FC – 8 points
7. FC Edmonton – 8 points
8. San Antonio Scorpions – 1 points
What did you think of Week 7? Do you believe the Cosmos can stay on top? Can the Strikers continue their unbeaten steak? Can the Rowdies contend for the Soccer Bowl? Do you see the Silverbacks returning to winning ways?
Share your thoughts below.