Tampa Bay Sports Day

NASL: Three Clubs Enter Weekend Tied On Points Atop Fall Season Standings

The New York Cosmos set the home winning streak record last Saturday, and now they hope to increase it with an 11th straight home win when Rayo OKC visits Shuart Stadium in the lone Sunday contest.

Five other matchups get underway on Saturday night, highlighted by Indy Eleven aiming to continue a home winning streak of its own. The Boys in Blue have won six straight and are 11 unbeaten after knocking off Jacksonville Armada FC, 5-2, on Wednesday night. Minnesota United was also in action on Wednesday to start Week 6 of the Fall Season and battled to a 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico FC. Remaining at NSC Stadium this weekend against Miami FC, the Loons can continue a stretch of home form that has seen the side lose just once in its last 19 home games.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue their longstanding rivalry when they meet at Al Lang Stadium in the next chapter of the Florida Derby. FC Edmonton will be intent on bringing its momentum of winning eight straight games at Clarke Field on the road when the Eddies face Puerto Rico FC. In the first kickoff on Saturday night, Omar Bravo and the Carolina RailHawks square off with Jacksonville Armada FC.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Carolina RailHawks
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 6
Community First Park | Jacksonville, Fla.

Two sides that are in need of a rebound meet on Saturday night. Jacksonville Armada FC lost on Wednesday, 5-2, at Indy Eleven and have dropped five straight. The Carolina RailHawks dropped both games during their Canadian road trip (2-0 at Ottawa Fury FC and 1-0 at FC Edmonton). Before the recent drought, Jacksonville (1W-1D-5L, 4 points) was on a five-game unbeaten run, which included a 0-0 draw with the RailHawks.

While Carolina (2-1-3, 7) has scored seven goals at home in its last two games, goals have been a little harder to come by on the road. The club has scored just once in its last three games away from home. Mexican star Omar Bravo, though, now has had more time to jell with his teammates as the club tries to get back on the winning track in Jacksonville.

Indy Eleven vs. Ottawa Fury FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 6
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.

Ottawa Fury FC enters the contest with Indy Eleven in fine form, but the Canadian side will try to do what no team has done in 2016: beat the Eleven at Carroll Stadium. Indy (4-1-2, 13) is currently riding a six-game home unbeaten streak and, dating to last year, an 11-game home unbeaten run. The Boys in Blue were in action on Wednesday and stormed to the top of the Fall Season standings (on goal differential) with a 5-2 win over Jacksonville Armada FC. Eamon Zayed moved his goal tally to 11 after securing his second hat trick of the year.

Fury FC, though, will have plenty of confidence going to Indy. The principles of last year’s run to The Championship Final have come to the fore as goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, behind an improving back line, has shut the door on opponents recently. Ottawa (3-0-3, 9) has won its last three games and hasn’t surrendered a goal in that span. The clubs played to a 1-1 draw in the Spring Season.

Puerto Rico FC vs. FC Edmonton
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 6
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium | Bayamón, P.R.

FC Edmonton has been on an incredible run of form at home and now the Eddies hope to carry that momentum on the road. The Eddies have one win on the road in 2016; Puerto Rico FC is unbeaten in its first two home games in league play. The defense has been the catalyst for the Eddies’ run, with goalkeeper Matt VanOekel making several big saves in recent weeks. FC Edmonton (4-1-1, 13) won its most recent contest – 1-0 over the Carolina RailHawks.

Puerto Rico (1-3-3, 6) has been buoyed by the play of Héctor Ramos, who capitalized on an errant backpass to score his fifth goal in seven games in the club’s 1-1 draw at Minnesota United on Wednesday night. Ramos has scored both of Puerto Rico FC’s goals at home so far, and the Eddies’ back line will need to slow down the Puerto Rican international to get a result on Saturday.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 6
Al Lang Stadium | St. Petersburg, Fla.

The Florida Derby picks back up at Al Lang Stadium and offers a chance for both the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers to start building toward moving up the Fall Season Standings. Tampa Bay is coming into the game on the heels of a tough road trip of two shutout losses – 1-0 at Rayo OKC and 2-0 at Ottawa Fury FC. Heading back home, though, bodes well for the Rowdies (1-2-3, 5). The club is unbeaten in its last five games in front of their home support.

The Strikers earned a dramatic win against Jacksonville Armada FC in their last game. Maicon Santos scored his fifth goal in the 1-0 win, which ended a four-game losing skid. Fort Lauderdale (1-1-4, 4) will look to get some revenge against its rival after falling, 1-0, on a Neill Collins goal in the Spring Season at Lockhart Stadium.

Minnesota United vs. Miami FC
8 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 6
NSC Stadium | Blaine, Minn.

Minnesota United was unable to take all three points on Wednesday in a 1-1 draw with Puerto Rico FC, but the club has been on a fantastic run of form at home over the last year and a half, a span that has seen the club lose just once in 19 games (13W-5D-1L). The Loons’ attack was lively again, but was thwarted by Puerto Rico FC goalkeeper David Meves’ five key saves. Minnesota (3-2-1, 11) has been led by Christian Ramirez’s 12 goals, which leads the league, but midfielder Ibson has started to pull the strings even more in recent games ahead of the contest with Miami FC. Ramirez and Ibson, along with Stefano Pinho, were on target in a 3-1 win over Miami at the end of the Spring Season.

The Miami (2-2-1, 8) side that will step on the field at NSC Stadium, though, will be much different than the one from the Spring Season. Kwadwo Poku has added an extra boost in the midfield, while Gabriel Farfán has bolstered the back line. Jaime Chávez, who scored in the loss to Minnesota, has also started to hit his goalscoring stride with three goals in the last three games. The club also added more firepower with former La Liga forward Vincenzo Rennella joining the mix.

New York Cosmos vs. Rayo OKC
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, August 7
Shuart Stadium | Hempstead, N.Y.

The New York Cosmos can add to their record home winning streak when Rayo OKC visits. The Cosmos (4-1-2, 13) won a 10th in a row at Shuart Stadium after knocking off Puerto Rico FC, 3-0. Venezuelan star Juan Arango has scored in each of the last three games to increase his team-leading total to seven. Lucky Mkosana has also played a pivotal role, having a hand in all three of New York’s goals in the record-setting win. One of the victories in the streak came against Rayo OKC with Danny Szetela scoring the lone goal in the 1-0 win in the Spring Season.

Entering the contest with New York, Rayo OKC (3-3-1, 12) has picked up momentum in the Fall Season, including a 3-0 win against the Cosmos at Miller Stadium. The visitors are coming off a dramatic 2-2 draw with Minnesota United that saw Futty Danso score moments after Minnesota took the lead in stoppage time. Danso also had the assist on Rayo OKC’s first goal. A win on Sunday would not only end the Cosmos’ streak, but vault Rayo OKC past New York in the Fall Season Standings. The game also marks the coaching debut of Gerard Nus, who took over the coaching reins ahead of the weekend.