Tampa Bay Sports Day

NASL: New York Back On Top, Indy Still Unbeaten As Spring Season Heats Up


The New York Cosmos used goals from three different players — Juan Arango, Gabriel Farfán and Jairo Arrieta — to record a convincing 3-0 victory against expansion side Miami FC and move back into first place in the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season Standings.

The Cosmos’ victory, coupled with Carolina’s 3-1 loss against visiting and previously winless Fort Lauderdale, puts New York back on top of the standings on goal differential, the first tiebreaker. The win is the Cosmos’ second in a row and the loss by the RailHawks was their second straight after four wins to open the season.

The visiting Strikers made quick work of it against the RailHawks, scoring three goals in the game’s first 38 minutes on their way to their first victory of the season under head coach Ciao Zanardi.

Indy Eleven was thwarted in its attempt to win its third straight match and had to settle for one point in a 1-1 draw against visiting FC Edmonton. Indy remains as the only unbeaten team in the Spring Season. The Eddies completed a challenging two-game road trip, playing their second game in four days following a 1-0 win at Jacksonville on Wednesday night.

League newcomer Rayo OKC stayed in the hunt and in the middle of the pack with a 1-0 victory over Jacksonville. Robbie Findley’s goal was enough for the visitors to record their second consecutive road win. In the day’s early game, Ottawa Fury FC fought back to tie Minnesota United in a rematch of one of last year’s semifinals in The Championship, getting an equalizer from Marcel de Jong in second-half stoppage time.

New York Cosmos 3, Miami FC 0
Juan Arango’s third goal of the year, in the 17th minute, gave the visiting New York Cosmos (4-0-2, 12) the game’s early lead. Arango rose above the Miami FC (0-2-3, 2) defense to meet a cross from Hunter Freeman and head past goalkeeper Daniel Vega. The Cosmos’ victory, coupled with Carolina’s loss, puts New York into a first-place tie, on points, in the Spring Season standings. The Cosmos have the superior goal differential, the first tiebreaker, over Carolina.

New York doubled the lead in the 34th minute when defender Gabriel Farfán settled an errant clearing attempt and powered a right-footed shot low and past Vega from the top of the penalty area.The Cosmos added another goal early in the second half as captain and defender Carlos Mendes split the Miami FC defense with a long pinpoint pass that sent Jair Arrieta in alone for the Cosmos’ third of the night.

Since opening with two draws, expansion Miami FC (0-2-3, 2) has lost three straight games and remains the only team without a victory to its credit in the Spring Season. The victory was the Cosmos’ first on the road after two losses in which they allowed game-breaking goals in the waning moments of both games. Over six games, the Cosmos have won two straight, lost two straight and won two straight again.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3, Carolina RailHawks 1
Facing a critical test as the Spring Season reached its halfway point, the Strikers responded by taking three points on the road and winning their first game in five tries.

Fort Lauderdale (1-2-2, 5) jumped on top in the seventh minute before fans were settled at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. The Strikers’ Nana Attakora struck a perfect cross from the right flank that met the head of Maicon Santos, who snapped it inside the far post out of the reach of Carolina (4-0-2, 12) goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre. Attakora shocked the RailHawks again, in the 23rd minute, when he took a Ramón Núñez cross from a corner and headed it past Sylvestre.

Fort Lauderdale struck again before the first half expired when Núñez broke down the right flank and crossed to Matheus Carvalho, who had replaced the injured Maicon Santos. Carvalho hit the ball first time with his left foot into the back of the next. Brian Shriver gave Carolina a boost in the 67th minute when his powerful header from a Kareem Moses cross sailed past goalkeeper Diego Restrepo. Minutes later, Carolina’s Nazmi Albadawi took a shot that took several deflections before bounding off the goalpost. The loss was Carolina’s second straight after it had won four games to start the Spring Season.

Indy Eleven 1, FC Edmonton 1
Indy Eleven (2-3-0, 9) used a set piece to take the lead in the 22nd minute at Carroll Stadium. Nicki Paterson was fouled on the left flank and hooked the subsequent free kick into the goal box where defender Greg Janicki pounced to score past Matt VanOekel.

The Eddies got back into the game in the 27th minute. Sainey Nyassi floated a soft cross that Jake Keegan met with a header that looped high over the head of Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch. The goal was Keegan’s second of the Spring Season.

Indy was seeking its third straight victory and FC Edmonton (2-2-2, 8) its second straight, but neither could find the go-ahead goal late in the game. FC Edmonton is right back at it on Wednesday, facing NASL rival Ottawa Fury FC in the Amway Canadian Championship. The draw leaves Indy as the only team without a loss through Week 6 of the Spring Season.

Ottawa Fury FC 2, Minnesota United 2
Ottawa Fury FC (1-1-4, 4) fought back twice to earn a 2-2 draw at TD Place in a Saturday matinee, a rematch of last year’s Championship Semifinal against Minnesota United (3-1-1, 10).

Marcel de Jong scored in the match’s waning moments to earn a share of the points for Fury FC. Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock misplayed the ball, leading to Paulo Junior’s cross. De Jong, a Canadian international, then slid across to tap the ball into the net to equalize. Ben Speas was on the end of a Kevin Venegas cross to finish from close range for what appeared to be the winner in the 75th minute. It was Speas’ third goal of the Spring Season.

The Loons were spotted a lead in less than 15 minutes to start the match. Christian Ramirez scored in the semifinal loss, and he once again found the back of the net for his league-leading fourth goal for the Loons. Off of Minnesota’s corner, Jeb Brovsky flicked the ball on and Ramirez finished at the back post. Ottawa also equalized in the 60th minute. Marcel de Jong’s cross took a heavy deflection off Jeb Brovsky and left Ndjock no chance as the ball flew in for an own goal.

Rayo OKC 1, Jacksonville Armada FC 0
Robbie Findley, a second-half substitute for Georgios Samaras, gave Rayo OKC the lead in the 70th minute at Community First Park. Michel struck a long, left-footed cross into the penalty area and Findley managed to squeeze in between the onrushing Jacksonville goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and defender Tyler Ruthven to score the game’s only goal.

Junior Sandoval of Jacksonville (1-1-3, 4 points) had the best chance of the first 20 minutes when he unleashed a hard right-footed shot that was pushed clear by Rayo OKC (2-1-2, 7) goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes. The Armada FC also came close when Matt Fondy headed off the post and Mechack Jérôme, who was named to Haiti’s provisional roster for Copa América Centenario, struck a frozen rope from distance that forced Fernandes to make a save.

Sandoval had another golden chance in the 63rd minute, getting a shot after a nifty one-two passing combination with Fondy. The hard shot was only inches off target. A late Jacksonville flurry in front of the Rayo OKC goal failed to pierce the defense. Jacksonville lost its second game this week after dropping 1-0 decision to FC Edmonton last Wednesday.