By JOE PANTORNO
Minnesota United and the New York Cosmos remain perfect through two games this season as the North American Soccer League spring season’s schedule slowly begins to take shape.
The defending Soccer Bowl champion Cosmos managed to escape Canada with three points, defeating FC Edmonton 1-0 thanks to a 37th minute strike from Sebastian Guenzatti. The Cosmos have not lost a game since Aug. 17, 2013 — the only loss since the franchise’s rebirth last season.
Minnesota also had their hands full with a Canadian side, needing a 90th minute game-winner from Christian Ramirez to defeat expansion side Ottawa Fury FC.
Ottawa is one of two sides that remain point-less after two rounds of the NASL season. The other being last year’s Spring Season Champions, the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Here is a recap of all the week two action from the NASL:
Ottawa Fury FC 1, Minnesota United 2
Christian Ramirez was the hero of the afternoon with a last-gasp winner despite Minnesota dominating most of the match. With 58 percent of the possession along with five corners compared to Ottawa’s three, Miguel Ibarra’s opener in the 36th minute for Minnesota was canceled out by Vini Dantas’ equalizer for Ottawa.
It was the first goal scored for Ottawa’s new franchise. Minnesota sits in second despite gaining maximum points in their first two games due to its +3 goal differential. League leaders New York are at +5.
Atlanta Silverbacks 1, San Antonio Scorpions 2
Atlanta’s late rally fell short as the Silverbacks join Ottawa as the two remaining sides yet to record a point this season.
Greg Janicki had the away side on top after 34 minutes only to have Shaun Saiko double the lead 12 minutes later. Atlanta was able to pull one back in the 82nd minute, but Junior Sandovals spark was not enough to ignite a draw.
Carolina Railhawks 4, Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1
Whatever momentum Fort Lauderdale had built after its week one win against Ottawa was quickly extinguished after a visit to Wakemed Soccer Park as the Railhawks recorded the largest victory of week two.
Pairs of goals from both Enzo Martinez and Zack Schilawski accounted for all of Carolina’s goals as the Railhawks follow up an opening day draw to Indiana with an impressive win. All this despite being out-possessed 51 percent to 49 by the Strikers. The win shoots Carolina up to third in the standings.
Indy Eleven 1, Tampa Bay Rowdies 1
Another week in the NASL, another point for the Indy Eleven in their maiden season.
Last year’s golden boot winner, Brian Shriver put Tampa Bay on top in the 48th minute. The goal was Shriver’s first of the season after he scored 15 with Carolina.
The warm welcome, however, was put on hold when Indy managed to gain another point after Erick Norales scored in the 81st minute. Indy has managed to draw an impressive following through it’s first two games. After a sold-out showing in their opener, over 10,400 came out to see game number two.
FC Edmonton 0, New York Cosmos 1
There might have not been as many fireworks as last week’s 4-0 victory, but three points is three points for the league leading Cosmos as Sebastian Guenzatti’s lone tally proved enough for New York.
The goal was Guenzatti’s second of his Cosmos career.
Narrow margin of victory aside, Edmonton was outperformed for most of the evening, only seeing 44 percent of possession while mustering just one shot on target. Edmonton sits in eighth place with just one point through two weeks.
What did you think of Week 2 action in NASL? Which team impressed and which team looks to be in for a long season? Who is your player of the week?
Share your thoughts below.