By MIKE GRAMAJO
While one team continues their struggles at home, another learns from their first road match since 1984.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies and New York Cosmos battled to a scoreless draw, Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium in front of an announced sold-out crowd of 7,032.
“It’s a very competitive league to play, difficult teams and Tampa made it very difficult,” Cosmos manager Giovanni Savarese said after the game. “We wanted to take the three points, but for the way the game finished, we’ll take these points which will help us out.”
The Cosmos had the upper hand in the first 20 minutes of the match, finding three scoring opportunities, though they came to no avail. Joseph Nane and Ayoze had the clearest chances to score in the 20th minute, with both hitting the crossbar, while Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo did the rest, making several crucial saves to preserve the shutout.
Despite the Cosmos having clear chances in the first half, the Rowdies answered back with a strong second-half performance. Forward Etienne Barbara entered as the game at halftime for Carl Cort and had a big impact for the Rowdies. As Restrepo’s acrobatic diving save in the 76th minute denied the Cosmos the lead, a Rowdies counter-attack followed which set up Barbara for the goal, but he was ruled offside.
The Rowdies finished the match with ten men when midfielder Luke Mulholland was given a second yellow card into stoppage time, but held on to the draw with the visiting Cosmos.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 2 action:
SILVERBACKS SECOND-HALF GOAL SALVAGES DRAW AGAINST RAILHAWKS
Kupono Low’s 72nd-minute goal insured the Atlanta Silverbacks a 1-1 draw against the visiting Carolina RailHawks on Saturday night.
RailHawks forward Brian Shriver missed a penalty kick in the ninth minute, with Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco making the save. However, Pedro Mendes’ shot outside the 18-yard box gave the Silverbacks a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
After having the Silverbacks held the lead for much of the game, the RailHawks answered back with a goal themselves. RailHawks defender Kupuno Low’s header off a Ty Shipalane cross stunned the fans at Atlanta Silverbacks park as the visitors walked away sharing one point with the Silverbacks.
EDDIES TAKE HOME VICTORY OVER SCORPIONS
It didn’t take much time for newcomer Corey Hertzog to open up his scoring account for FC Edmonton in a 1-0 victory against the San Antonio Scorpions.
The on-loan forward from the Vancouver Whitecaps needed just 15 minutes to score his first goal for the Eddies. Hertzog was able to go around two Scorpions defenders to put the ball in the net after Neil Hlavaty’s pass found the 23-year-old American.
“We kept the ball and played it simple, got the ball in the first half and defended really well,” Hertzog told NASL.com. “As long as we keep playing together we have a chance of scoring more goals. We just want to score goals, win every game, get to the top of the league and get in the final.”
UNITED ROUTE STRIKERS AT LOCKHART
After opening their fall season with a 1-0 home defeat to the Atlanta Silverbacks, Minnesota United brushed away the loss as forwards Max Griffin and Pablo Campos lead United to a 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.
“It was an even game in the first half,” United coach Manny Lagos told NASL.com after the game. “The Strikers came on strong in the second half, like a home team normally would. Fortunately we got lucky on one and that helped us and in the end it was a good result for us.”
Griffin opened up the scoring for United in the 72nd minute after teammate finishing a great play from his teammate Campos. The lead doubled minutes later after defender Rafael Alves hit an own-goal for the Strikers.
Pablo Núñez cut the deficit to one for the Strikers in the 80th minute, but it was Campos who stole the show and sealed the victory for United after his strike three minutes into stoppage-time made it 3-1.
NASL FALL STANDINGS
GP W T L PTS
- TAMPA BAY ROWDIES 2 1 1 0 4
- ATLANTA SILVERBACKS 2 1 1 0 4
- CAROLINA RAILHAWKS 2 1 1 0 4
- NEW YORK COSMOS 2 1 1 0 4
- MINNESOTA UNITED FC 2 1 0 1 3
- FC EDMONTON 2 1 0 1 3
- FT. LAUDERDALE STRIKERS 2 0 0 2 0
- SAN ANTONIO SCORPIONS 2 0 0 2 0
What did you think of Week 2? Do you think the Cosmos can pick up their first road victory next week at WakeMed Soccer Park? Can the Strikers and Scorpions get back to winning ways? Do you think the Rowdies will continue to struggle at home?
Share your thoughts below.