NASL: Minnesota and New York Pick Up Ground in Fall Season Race

NEW YORK -- Minnesota United FC extended its unbeaten streak to six games and the New York Cosmos upped their regular-season home unbeaten run to 18 games in North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season on Saturday night.

United and the Cosmos are tied on points (22) in the Fall Season Standings - three points behind Ottawa Fury FC. Minnesota spotted the Carolina RailHawks an early tally before scoring three unanswered goals to end up on the right side of a 3-1 result, while Raúl's sixth goal of the year helped the Cosmos defeat 10-man Jacksonville Armada FC.

In Saturday's matinee match, Ottawa, which boasts the league's top defense, stymied one of the league's top offenses in a 0-0 draw against the visiting Fort Lauderdale Strikers. First-place Ottawa, however, has only taken 3 of a possible 12 points in its last four home matches and plays its next three games away from home.

The San Antonio Scorpions, behind two goals from Rafael Castillo, blanked visiting Indy Eleven as the defending league champions moved out of last place in both the Fall Season and Combined Standings.

New York Cosmos 1, Jacksonville Armada FC 0

New York (6-4-2, 22 Fall; 11-9-2, 42 Combined), playing a man up after Lucas Trejo's straight red card in the 52nd minute, finally broke through in the 74th minute when Raúl flashed the skill that made him a star for Real Madrid and Spain's national team. He settled a pass from Walter Restrepo, cut the ball back with his right foot and calmly buried a left-footed shot past Jacksonville (3-2-7, 11 Fall; 6-5-11, 23 Combined) goalkeeper David Sierra to record his sixth goal of the year.

The Armada FC are winless on the road (0-2-9) in their inaugural season in the NASL, while the Cosmos now have an 18-game regular-season home unbeaten streak. Argentine striker Gaston Cellerino made his debut for the Cosmos as a second-half substitute.

Ottawa Fury FC 0, Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0

Fort Lauderdale (4-5-2, 17 Fall; 7-7-7, 28 Combined), with one of the most dynamic offenses in the league, faced the NASL's best defense in Ottawa (7-4-1, 25 Fall, 9-9-4, 36 Combined) before 6,327 at TD Place in Canada's capital. Ottawa's defense stood the test, keeping the Strikers' league-leading goal-scorer Stefano Pinho off the scoresheet. Goalkeeper Romuald Peiser recorded the club's 11th shutout of the season, making several acrobatic saves to preserve the deadlock.

Former Fort Lauderdale forward Aly Alberto Hassan nearly gave Ottawa the late victory when his header skidded wide of the goal in the final minute of second-half injury time. The Strikers entered the match on a three-game winning streak and now are unbeaten in their last five. Ottawa maintained its place atop the Fall Season Standings, but the club is about to face a string of tough road tests in the coming weeks.

Minnesota United FC 3, Carolina RailHawks 1

Carolina (3-3-7, 12 Fall; 6-8-9, 26 Combined) jumped in front before 8,222 at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minn., when Futty Danso rose above the Minnesota (6-4-2, 22 Fall; 9-9-4, 36 Combined) defense in the 4th minute to head a corner kick from Tiyi Shipalane off the post and into the net. The Loons drew even in the 72nd minute when a free kick was headed into his own net by Carolina defender Daniel Scott.

Minnesota took the lead four minutes later when Kevin Venegas found Christian Ramirez with a lead pass. Ramirez headed the pass back into the path of Pablo Campos, who struck the ball first time and powered it low to the far post and past Akira Fitzgerald. Venegas made it 3-1 when he dribbled past a pair of RailHawks defenders before planting a shot behind Fitzgerald. Minnesota is now unbeaten in six games and the club has scored a goal in 20 straight league matches. Carolina has allowed three goals in six of its last seven games - five of them losses.

San Antonio Scorpions 2, Indy Eleven 0

San Antonio (3-4-5, 13 Fall; 6-7-9, 25 Combined) took a 1-0 lead in the waning seconds of the first half when Rafael Castillo slotted a penalty kick past Indy Eleven (3-3-7, 12 Fall; 6-7-10, 25 Combined) goalkeeper Keith Cardona. The PK was set up after Cardona crashed into Marvin Chávez.

Billy Forbes set up Castillo's second goal in the 72nd minute with a pass that split two defenders. Castillo ran on to the pass, held off a defender and scored. The victory, which was played in front of 7,232 fans at Toyota Field, enabled San Antonio, the defending league champions, to move out of last place in both the Fall Season and Combined Standings.

Popular posts from this blog

Orlando City SC to Face Cavalry FC in Round One of 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup

Golf: Remembering Kathy Whitworth, the Game’s Greatest Winner

ReliaQuest Bowl Goes to LSU Tigers over Wisconsin Badgers, 35-31