By MIKE GRAMAJO
The North American Soccer League hits the final stretch of the season as all seven teams rush to finish in at the top of the spring campaign.
From sitting atop the NASL table with 15 points to cruising to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup after a convincing 3-1 victory over Chivas USA, the Carolina RailHawks are entering this weekend of action with plenty of momentum. Heading into Clarke Stadium in Edmonton on Sunday, the RailHawks can further their lead in the standings and inch closer to hosting the Soccer Bowl with a victory over FC Edmonton.
“They’ll be ready. You know, getting to this stage of the season with the chance to win a championship and a chance to advance further into the Cup, you can’t ask for anything more than that,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clark told the team’s website.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies look to brush their Open Cup exit to the side as they welcome a San Antonio Scorpions team that hasn’t played a league match since a 2-0 victory over Minnesota United two weeks ago. The Rowdies visited the Portland Timbers on Wednesday, falling 2-0 at Jeld-Wen Field.
“We began the match forcing Portland into their own half,” Rowdies head coach Ricky Hill told the club’s website. “Their goal changed everything as now we were down one goal after starting the match in great fashion. Their first goal was a perfect strike and Diego could do nothing about it.”
Despite the Rowdies sitting in fourth place with 12 points, a victory at Al Lang Field over the Scorpions will prove to be pivotal for the St. Petersburg side since they have yet to win a match there.
Avoiding a second successive loss is key for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers as they host the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday at Lockhart Stadium. Both teams were part of a trade earlier this week that saw the Strikers trading forward Andy Herron to the Silverbacks in exchange for forward Jahbari Willis.
Here’s the full list of matches for Week Nine in the North American Soccer League:
7:30pm – Fort Lauderdale Strikers Vs. Atlanta Silverbacks – WATCH HERE
7:30pm – Tampa Bay Rowdies Vs. San Antonio Scorpions – WATCH HERE
4:30pm – FC Edmonton Vs. Carolina RailHawks – WATCH HERE
What do you think of this week’s matchups? Do you see the Railhawks holding the top spot? Excited for the Strikers vs. Silverbacks match?
Share your thoughts below.