photo courtesy of Robin Jerstad/San Antonio Scorpions
By FRANCO PANIZO
The San Antonio Scorpions returned home to their faithful fans for the first time in nearly a month, but the Carolina RailHawks crashed the party by pulling off the upset.
The RailHawks stunned the league-leading Scorpions, 2-1, during the penultimate week of the NASL regular season on Saturday courtesy of a second-half goal from Ty Shipalane at Heroes Stadium on Sunday night.
Former U.S. Under-23 men's national team centerback Gale Agbossoumonde gave the RailHawks the lead just before halftime, but Pablo Campos pulled San Antonio level in the 63rd minute with his 19th goal of the season. That was as close as the hosts came to a result in front of their 7,701 fans, as Carolina took a permanent lead six minutes later through Shipalane's finish.
The win put the RailHawks three points ahead of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in the NASL standings, meaning they would have the right to host a quarterfinal playoff match should they finish the regular season there.
Here is a look back at the rest of the Week 24 action in NASL:
ROWDIES ROLL PAST EDDIES
The Tampa Bay Rowdies have been one of the hotter sides in NASL in recent weeks, and FC Edmonton were the latest team to find that out. The Rowdies rolled past the Eddies, 3-0, at Clarke Stadium en route to helping goalkeeper Jeff Attinella pick up his 10th cleansheet of the season on Sunday. Daniel Antoniuk scored the winner while Mike Ambersley and Luke Mulholland added tallies of their own to leave the Eddies crowd of 1,376 disappointed.
ISLANDERS SNAP WINLESS STREAK BY BLANKING STARS
Finally, the Puerto Rico Islanders are back in the win column. The Islanders ended their six-game winless run by defeating Minnesota Stars FC, 2-0, in front of 3,331 spectators at Estadio Juan Roman Loubriel on Saturday. Anthony Vasquez netted the winner in the first half and David Foley added an insurance goal late in the second half to give Puerto Rico three points and hand Minnesota its first loss in six games.
SILVERBACKS SHUT OUT STRIKERS
The Atlanta Silverbacks may be eliminated from playoff contention, but they still made a potential impact in terms of how the postseason will play out by topping the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. The Silverbacks rode an early goal from Matt Horth to top the Strikers, 1-0, in front of 5,511 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on Saturday. The goal was Horth's 10th of the season and it prevented the Strikers from pulling level on points with the Carolina RailHawks heading into te final week of the regular season.
NASL STANDINGS (bold teams have qualified for the playoffs)
1. San Antonio Scorpions (13-6-7, 46 points, +21 GD)
2. Tampa Bay Rowdies (12-7-7, 43 points, +7 GD)
3. Puerto Rico Islanders (11-9-7, 40 points, +2 GD)
4. Carolina RailHawks (10-8-8, 38 points, -2 GD)
5. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (9-10-8, 35 points, -6 GD)
6. Minnesota Stars FC (8-9-10, 34 points, +1 GD)
7. Atlanta Silverbacks (6-12-8, 26 points, -13 GD)
8. FC Edmonton (5-13-9, 24 points, -10 GD)
What do you think of this weekend's NASL action? Concerned by the Scorpions' loss to the RailHawks? Are the Rowdies the hottest team in NASL right now?
Share your thoughts below.