By MIKE GRAMAJO
After a thrilling first week of the fall campaign, four first-place teams battle for sole position atop the NASL table.
The New York Cosmos head south to St. Petersburg for their first road trip of the season, as they take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Field on Saturday.
After crashing out of the race to host the Soccer Bowl in the last week of the Spring Season, the Carolina RailHawks visit the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday.
After conceding a stoppage-time goal last week, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers play host at Lockhart Stadium when Minnesota United pays a visit on Sunday.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s NASL matchups:
TAMPA BAY ROWDIES vs. NEW YORK COSMOS (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Watch Here)
The New York Cosmos may have their first tough task of the season. Head coach Giovanni Savarese’s team walked away last week with a nail-biting stoppage time goal against one Florida team, but a red-hot Tampa Bay Rowdies side may just ruin the welcome back party for the legendary club.
After closing out the Spring Season with a 4-0 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, the St. Petersburg club opened the fall campaign with seven goals last week. At the pace the Rowdies are going with their attacking depth, coach Ricky Hill’s side may take advantage of their early momentum and catapult them to fall glory.
ATLANTA SILVERBACKS vs. CAROLINA RAILHAWKS (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Watch Here)
Another key match to watch on Saturday features the Atlanta Silverbacks hosting the Carolina RailHawks.
While both teams took silent victories during Week 1, bad blood between these two clubs can boil over after the Silverbacks snatched the spring title from the RailHawks in the last week of the season. Their last meeting in June resulted in a 1-1 draw at WakeMed Soccer Park.
RailHawks forward Brian Shriver will look to add to his tally in the Golden Boot chart after scoring the only goal in Carolina’s 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton last week.
FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Watch Here)
It’s hard to argue which team is having more of a nightmare year. On one side, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have not won since May. On the other, Minnesota United hasn’t tasted victory since June.
The Strikers saw their losing streak extended to five games last week after Alessandro Noselli’s stoppage-time goal lifted the New York Cosmos to victory, while Mike Randolph gave the Atlanta Silverbacks an early lead to secure victory and extend Minnesota’s skid to four games.
FC EDMONTON vs. SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS (Sunday, 4 p.m. Watch Here)
San Antonio had everything they could have asked for last week: a three goal lead in front of a home crowd and a chance to start their run for fall glory in a stunning way.
However, things fell apart and they blew their lead, conceding seven goals from the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The last time San Antonio and Edmonton met at Clarke Stadium, the Eddies took a 1-0 victory in April.
While both teams lost last week, Edmonton acquired Vancouver Whitecaps forward Corey Hertzog on loan for the remainder of the Fall Season, a move that can enhance the Eddies for this match and possibly the remaining season.
What do you think of the Week 2 matchups? Do you see the Rowdies scoring more goals? Do you believe that the RailHawks will get revenge after the Silverbacks stripped them from the title in the last week of the spring campaign? What match are you looking forward to watching?
Share your thoughts below.