By MIKE GRAMAJO
There was no stopping the rejuvenated Fort Lauderdale Strikers as they extended their winning streak to three games, topping the Carolina RailHawks, 1-0, on Friday evening at Lockhart Stadium.
“It was a tough match against the top team in the league, but we got the win,” Strikers manager Günter Kronsteiner told the Sun Sentinel after the game. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but the team’s confidence is getting higher with each win.”
Strikers defender Darnell King’s goal in the 51st minute solidified the victory for the South Florida side after midfielder Ivan Guerrero’s cross found King for a volley behind RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald.
Despite their first defeat of the fall season, the RailHawks remain atop the North American Soccer League standings with 10 points, while the Strikers move a point below them with nine points.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 5 action:
ROWDIES DRAW AT SILVERBACKS
For the third time this fall season, the Atlanta Silverbacks have taken the lead only to squander it later in the game.
The 2013 spring season champions took an early lead when Pedro Mendes’ strike outside the box beat Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo as the Silverbacks took a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
“It was a great result as we had our chances score,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill told NASL.com after the match. “We just need to be get more than just ties this season and of course a bit of luck to get there.”
It didn’t take much longer for the Rowdies to respond, scoring five minutes into the second half when forward Georgi Hristov scoerd his eighth goal of the season after a handball was called in the Silverbacks penalty box.
Although the match ended in a 1-1 draw, it kept the Rowdies as the only team left unbeaten in the fall season. However, the draw dealt a heavy blow to the Silverbacks as they now go four games without a win entering September.
UNITED TOP SCORPIONS AT THE DEATH
Connor Tobin’s stoppage-time goal lifted Minnesota United to a 3-2 victory over the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday night at Toyota Field.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys because they played until the final whistle,” United manager Manny Lagos told NASL.com. “The only time of the game I was frustrated was when we went up a man and we let San Antonio back into the game.”
After sacking head coach Tim Hankinson earlier in the week, the Scorpions got off to a great start as Walter Ramirez scored on a left-footed lob outside the box in the 14th minute. However, Minnesota United forward Pablo Campos would drain the Scorpions lead when he leveled the match in the 34th minute. He completed his brace in the 50th minute when on-loan midfielder Calum Mallace found the Campos in the box.
Tomasz Zahorki tied the match 2-2 in the 78th minute, but United defender Connor Tobin’s header put the match away for Manny Lagos’ side. Miguel Ibarra’s cross deflected off the San Antonio goalkeeper and found Tobin, who tucked the ball into the net for the late victory.
COSMOS CONTINUE ROAD WOES AT EDMONTON
Despite having a successful record at home, the New York Cosmos pursuit for their first road victory continued on Sunday, as they drew 1-1 against FC Edmonton.
After a scoreless first half, the Eddies opened up the scoresheet in the 60th minute when Chris Nurse headed in a Neil Hlavaty cross. Marcos Senna’s free-kick goal in the 75th minute salvaged a point for coach Savarese’s side.
“I thought defensively as a whole it was one of our best performances,” Cosmos defender Hunter Freeman told the club’s website. “We’re not totally disappointed I think but we are a little bit that we didn’t get the three points.”
- Carolina RailHawks – 10 points.
- Ft. Lauderdale Strikers – 9 points
- New York Cosmos – 8 points
- Tampa Bay Rowdies – 7 points
- Minnesota United – 7 points
- Atlanta Silverbacks – 6 points
- FC Edmonton – 6 point
- San Antonio Scorpions – 0 points
What did you think of Week 5 of the NASL? Surprised to see the Strikers on a winning streak? Can the Silverbacks finally get a win in September? Do you think the Scorpions can turn things around before the end of the fall season? Do you think the Cosmos will get their first road victory soon?
Share your thoughts below.