Tampa Bay Sports Day

NASL: RailHawks Remain Perfect, Beat Rowdies 3-1

The Carolina RailHawks continued their hot start to the 2016 North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season, putting three goals past the Tampa Bay Rowdies to earn a fourth consecutive victory to open the year.
Playing a man down proved to be no problem for Minnesota United FC, which snatched all three points from the New York Cosmos when Christian Ramirez was able to find the back of the net in the game’s waning moments.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who also played a significant portion of the game with 10 men, were able to post a positive result, scoring an equalizing goal midway through the second half to earn a point against Jacksonville Armada FC.
In the league’s lone Friday night game, Rayo OKC grinded out its first ever win, topping fellow expansion side Miami FC.
Carolina RailHawks 3, Tampa Bay Rowdies 1
The Carolina RailHawks remained perfect in the Spring Season with a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium.
Carolina (4-0-0, 12 points) grabbed the lead moments before the first-half whistle when Paul Black sent in a low cross from the left side that found the feet of Álex Pérez for the opener.
Shortly into the second stanza, the RailHawks doubled their advantage. Center back James Marcelin got his boot on Nazmi Albadawi’s inch-perfect cross to turn it into the top corner past Matt Pickens.
Another center back, though, would get on the scoresheet when Tampa Bay’s (1-2-1, 5) Tamika Mkandawire volleyed into the bottom corner after Neil Collins’ flick from a long ball to cut into the RailHawks’ lead.
Brian Shriver, playing against his former team, restored the two-goal advantage from the penalty spot in the 87th minute. The Rowdies had previously conceded just one goal in their first three games.
Minnesota United 1, New York Cosmos 0
Christian Ramirez snatched all three points for Minnesota United with a 90th-minute goal to secure a win over the New York Cosmos.
Playing a man down after defender Damion Lowe’s red card in the 53rd minute, the Loons (3W-0D-1L, 9 points) defeated the Cosmos for the first time in nine tries.
Ramirez’s effort just slipped underneath Cosmos (2-0-2, 6) goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer for the lone goal after being played through by Justin Davis.
New York has now lost back-to-back matches, conceding goals in the 90th minute or later in both.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1, Jacksonville Armada FC 1
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers continued to battle and overturned an early Jacksonville Armada FC lead to earn a draw.
Jacksonville (1-1-1, 4) jumped in front when Matt Bahner connected with a Richie Ryan cross, heading the ball just over the line in the 16th minute.
The Strikers (0-2-1, 2) would go down a man for the second match in a row when Haitian internaitonal Jean Alexandre was shown a second yellow card in the 55thminute. Playing with 10 men, though, didn’t deter the home side.
Jose Angulo provided a great individual effort with several cuts on the right wing to create space to whip in a cross and Maicon Santos nodded in the equalizer with just over 15 minutes to play. The Armada FC is still yet to earn a road win in club history.
Rayo OKC 3, Miami FC 2
Rayo OKC earned its first ever NASL victory on Friday night, knocking off Miami FC in an exciting encounter at a rain-soaked Ocean Bank Field in Miami, Fla. In a match that was delayed an hour and a half due to weather, visiting Rayo OKC let a two-goal lead slip away before scoring a late goal to claim all three points.
Early goals from Robbie Findley and Billy Forbes got the visitors out to what seemed to be a comfortable lead, but a strike from Cuban international Ariel Martinez late in the first half pulled one back for Miami FC (0W-2D-2L, 2 points). Midway through the second half, the hosts found the equalizer they probably deserved through defender Brad Rusin.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Forbes earned Rayo OKC (1-1-1, 4) a penalty kick in the 82nd minute. Brazilian defender Michel promptly dispatched his shot from the spot, giving the visitors a 3-2 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
FC Edmonton vs. Ottawa Fury FC – Sunday at 4 p.m. ET
Canadian rivals FC Edmonton and Ottawa Fury FC – each seeking their first win of the season – will meet on Sunday afternoon at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton. The matchup will be a preview of the opening round tilt between the two sides in the Amway Canadian Championship, which begins early next month.