Tampa Bay Sports Day

NASL: Top Two Scorers Face Off In Indy, Headlining Slate Of Week 2 Matchups

Week 2 of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season features a clash of the league’s top two goalscorers, as well as a battle between its two most in-form sides. League leader Christian Ramirez (eight goals) and Minnesota United visit Eamon Zayed (six goals) and still unbeaten Indy Eleven on Saturday, while FC Edmonton and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers face off in Alberta on Sunday.
Puerto Rico FC hits the road for the first time as the club meets Jacksonville Armada FC. The Carolina RailHawks aim to regain their early-season form against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, while the New York Cosmos head to the location of their only road win in 2016 to take on Miami FC. Rayo OKC and Ottawa Fury FC meet in a Sunday matinee at TD Place.
Here is a preview of the six matchups this weekend:
Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Puerto Rico FC
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 9
Community First Park | Jacksonville, Fla.
Watch | | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), CW17 (Local – Jacksonville), WAPA 2 (Local – Puerto Rico)
Jacksonville Armada FC and Puerto Rico FC are both coming off 1-1 draws in their Fall Season openers. Goalkeeper Sean Lewis made his NASL debut and turned in a tremendous performance, stopping 10 shots in the game against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Back at home, several players could potentially make their debuts after the club recently acquired Swedish pair Alexander Andersson and Nicklas Maripuu as well as Jason Plumhoff. All three signings were brought in to bolster the Armada FC’s attack. Jacksonville (0W-1D-0L, 1 point) has drawn its last four games.
Puerto Rico FC (0-1-0, 1) was moments away from a debut win last Saturday, but the club had to settle for a point after Spring Season Champion Indy Eleven scored a late equalizer to spoil what would have been a dream result in professional soccer’s return to the Caribbean island. Puerto Rican international Héctor Ramos notched the first goal in club history, and now it heads on the road in search of its first ever win.
Carolina RailHawks vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 9
WakeMed Soccer Park | Cary, N.C.
Watch | | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), TWC SportsChannel (Regional – North/South Carolina), WRAL2 (Local – Cary/Raleigh)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (0-1-0, 1) forward Georgi Hristov carried his hot form at the end of the Spring Season into the Fall Season opener, scoring his fourth goal of the year in a 1-1 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC. The draw stretched Tampa Bay’s unbeaten run to four games.
The Carolina RailHawks will want to erase their Fall Season opener from their minds after losing 5-1 to Minnesota United. Carolina has hit a rough patch after winning its first four games to start 2016. Forward Matt Fondy joined the club from Jacksonville, but missed the first game due to injury. Carolina (0-0-1, 0) will now hope to pick up momentum before playing Premier League side West Ham United FC in a midweek friendly.
Indy Eleven vs. Minnesota United
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 9
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Watch | beIN SPORTS (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada), WISH-TV (Local – Indianapolis), MY29 (Local – Twin Cities)
Indy Eleven remained unbeaten for an 11th straight league game after showing the side’s resolve once more, finding a late equalizer in Puerto Rico. Indy has scored seven goals in the last 15 minutes in 2016. Recent acquisition Souleymane Youla marked his NASL debut with a 92nd-minute equalizer against Puerto Rico FC. The Eleven (0-1-0, 1) had an attacking outburst in its last contest against Minnesota United, picking up a 4-2 win.
Minnesota United, though, had an offensive outburst of its own to open up the Fall Season. The Loons scored five times against the Carolina RailHawks, led by Christian Ramirez’s first professional hat trick. Ramirez also had an assist in the game. Minnesota (1-0-0, 3) has now scored eight goals in its last two league games, defeating Miami FC 3-1 to close out the Spring Season. The game will also feature the league’s two top socres with Eamon Zayed lining up against Ramirez.
Miami FC vs. New York Cosmos
8 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 9
Ocean Bank Field | Miami, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), GolTV (National – U.S.), ONE World Sports (National – U.S.), ONEWorldSports.com (National – U.S., Canada), International outlets*
Miami FC welcomes the New York Cosmos to Ocean Bank Field, and along with them a few familiar faces. Michael Lahoud and Gabriel Farfán both spent time with the Cosmos during the 2016 Spring Season, and are now donning the blue and orange of Miami FC. Miami (0-1-0, 1) has only lost one game in its last five after picking up a 1-1 draw against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the South Florida Derby.
New York (1-0-0, 3) earned its only away win in the Spring Season in Miami, claiming a 3-0 win, in which recent Miami acquisition Farfán scored. The Cosmos earned a 2-1 win to start the Fall Season against Ottawa Fury FC. New York boss Giovanni Savarese rotated his squad last weekend, but could return the usual suspects to the starting lineup on Saturday.
Ottawa Fury FC vs. Rayo OKC
12 p.m. ET | Sunday, July 10
TD Place | Ottawa, Ontario
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), Rogers TV (Local – Ottawa), Cox Channel 703 (Local – Oklahoma City)
Ottawa Fury FC is looking to shake off a tough start to the Spring Season after losing 2-1 against the New York Cosmos, and the Canadian side will try to do so without the services of their top goalkeeper, Romuald Peiser, who received a red card last game. Ottawa (0-0-1, 0) has been led recently by emerging star Carl Haworth, who already has one goal to his name against Sunday’s opponent, Rayo OKC.
Alen Marcina’s side nearly claimed all three points against FC Edmonton last Saturday, but the club had to settle for one after letting in a stoppage-time equalizer. Michel and Robbie Findley, who have scored five and three goals, respectively, have provided the attacking punch for the first-year club. Rayo OKC (0-1-0, 1) earned a 1-1 draw in its last game against Ottawa.
FC Edmonton vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, July 10
Clarke Field | Edmonton, Alberta
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), City TV (Local – Edmonton), SFL-TV (Local – Fort Lauderdale), International outlets*
Two of the NASL’s in-form sides square off at Clarke Field. FC Edmonton has lost just once in its last eight games, while the Fort Lauderdale Strikers (0-1-0, 1) have lost just once in their last seven. The loss, though, did come against the Eddies in Edmonton.
Gale Agbossoumonde, who scored in Fort Lauderdale’s 1-1 draw with Miami FC, has played a key role in the Strikers’ strong form in 2016. For FC Edmonton (0-1-0, 1), Gustavo struck late to dig out a point against Rayo OKC. Jake Keegan, who leads the Eddies in goals with four, scored twice in the 2-1 win when the clubs last met.