By MIKE GRAMAJO
The Florida Derby returns for a second consecutive week, as the Tampa Bay Rowdies look to avenge their 2-1 defeat against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Al Lang Stadium when both sides collide on Sunday (7:30 p.m. WATCH HERE).
“We’ve been down before and we have shown the audacity to never give up,” Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill told NASL.com. “Mathematically we are still in the hunt. With three of the last four matches being played at Al Lang.”
While both clubs are locked in a four-way tie at second place, mathematically there is still a lot to play for despite being seven points out of first place. The Rowdies are currently in a two-game losing streak, after starting the season on an eight-game unbeaten run before eventually losing to the New York Cosmos after they squandered a 3-1 lead.
Here’s a closer look at all the action in NASL Week 11:
COSMOS EYE REVENGE WITH RAILHAWKS IN TOWN (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. WATCH HERE)
The last time that the New York Cosmos and Carolina RailHawks met it not only rained; it poured, as the host RailHawks defeated the Cosmos 3-0.
“Anytime you lose to a team by a couple of goals, you want to come back and put in a good performance,” Cosmos defender Carlos Mendes told reporters on Friday. “I think we are a little more mature of a team now than when we last played them and hopefully that shows on Saturday.
“(The RailHawks) have to win. There are a couple of games left and they will come out with everything. We need to be ready. They will be fired up to play.”
RailHawks forward Brian Shriver’s absence due to an injury has taken a heavy toll for the Carolina side, and it’s not making things any easier as they enter James Shuart Stadium to face off against a Cosmos side that are on a four-game winning streak and seven-game unbeaten run.
Cosmos forward Alessandro Noselli is fit for action though defender Hunter Gorskie has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
MINNESOTA LOOK TO KEEP SEASON ALIVE (Saturday, 7:30 WATCH HERE)
If Minnesota United want to make the NASL Soccer Bowl for the second straight season, then Saturday represents a must-win affair against the Atlanta Silverbacks.
“We’re playing a team that has beaten us at home before and we need to make sure that we come out with a good intensity and that we don’t give anything up,” Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes told NASL.com. “It’s not going to be easy, but at the same time I believe the guys are up for the challenge.”
Minnesota United will look for Pablo Campos, who has seven goals on the season, to guide them to victory.
EDDIES DUEL SCORPIONS AT TOYOTA FIELD (Sunday, 2:30 p.m. WATCH HERE)
For FC Edmonton, a victory on the road this Sunday may have big implications on the rest of the season.
While the San Antonio Scorpions are mathematically eliminated from Soccer Bowl contention, the Eddies will hope for a RailHawks win over the Cosmos on Saturday, which will still keep Edmonton’s season alive.
If the Scorpions have Hans Denissen (12 goals) in form during Sunday’s match, then that could also hinder Colin Miller’s men from earning the opportunity to compete for post-season glory.
What do you think of Week 11? Do you see the Rowdies beating the Strikers? Can the Cosmos extend their lead atop the NASL standings? Do you see Minnesota as contenders? Do you expect the Scorpions to stop the Eddies?
Share your thoughts below.