Fall Champion to join Minnesota United FC to automatically qualify for The Championship
NEW YORK, NY July 12, 2014 – The North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season kicked off with eight of the ten clubs in action on Saturday night. Spring Champion Minnesota United FC, who is automatically qualified for The Championship, started the Fall where they left off in the Spring by defeating host Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3-0.
Defending Soccer Bowl Champions New York Cosmos welcomed the Spring’s third-place club San Antonio Scorpions and the Cosmos allowed as many goals in one match as they did all Spring, as they fell 3-1 at home.
Expansion club Indy Eleven simultaneously secured its first NASL win and snapped the Carolina RailHawks 18-match NASL home-unbeaten streak with a late goal to lock up a 2-1 victory.
An exciting back-and-forth match on the new pitch at Al Lang Stadium, saw a stoppage-time goal from Tampa Bay Rowdies securing a 3-2 victory over Atlanta Silverbacks to start their Fall campaigns.
A first-half brace by Scorpions’ Rafael Castillo helped lift the San Antonio to a 3-1 win over the New York Cosmos in the opening match at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
In the loss, the Cosmos matched their amount of goals conceded in the entire Spring season, while San Antonio won its fifth straight road match in NASL play.
In the 41st minute, Referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot after Castillo was knocked down in the box by Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, who dived to his left and got a hand on the Colombian midfielder’s attempt, but ultimately it went in off the post to put the visitors in front, 1-0.
Castillo netted his second goal in the second minute of first-half stoppage time when he lashed a free kick off the underside of the crossbar, the post and in to give San Antonio a two-goal halftime lead.
Hunter Freeman pulled the Cosmos back a goal in the 57th minute, blasting a 26-yard free kick over the Scorpions wall and into the side netting.
San Antonio regained its two-goal advantage in the 69th minute when Sainey Touray ran onto a ball by Billy Forbes and chipped it over Maurer, who was off his line, to put the Scorpions in front, 3-1.
Scorpions coach Alen Marcina was pleased, “Obviously it’s a huge win. I’m proud of the guys; they stuck to the plan, they executed. We had some fantastic goals -both teams. All the goals tonight were a pleasure to see. I think the fans got a treat, obviously maybe not the way they wanted it to go, but I’m proud of my guys and it’s positive moving forward.”
The Carolina RailHawks NASL home match-winning streak was snapped as they fell to first-time NASL winner Indy Eleven by a score of 2-1 in their Fall Season Opener.
Carolina’s Enzo Martinez scored the first goal of the match in the 24th minute to give the ‘Hawks and early lead. But a red card to Austen King in the 57th minute hurt the RailHawks as Indy scored their two goals up a man.
Indy’s Ben Spencer tied the match for Indy in the 65th minute after re-gathering a ball that was deflected off a RailHawks defender to knot the match at 1-1.
In the waning moments of the game, Indy substitute Don Smart was the hero as he scored after being fed in open space by Dylan Mares, putting Indy ahead in the 87th minute.
Georgi Hristov’s stoppage time header lifted the Tampa Bay Rowdies past the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-2 in the NASL Fall season opener in front of an energetic crowd at Al Lang Stadium.
In the 27th minute, Atlanta midfielder Junior Burgos drove down the center of the pitch and drilled a shot into the corner of goalkeeper Matt Pickens’ goal from about 30 yards out. Atlanta doubled their lead soon after in the 42nd minute when forward Deon McCaulay was played through on goal by midfielder Jesus Gonzalez. McCaulay slipped his shot under a charging Pickens.
The Rowdies halved Atlanta’s lead in the 58th minute on their first chance of the half. Forward Casey Townsend closed in on a loose ball and poked the ball into the net before anyone could react.
The Rowdies continued their comeback in the 67th minute when Hristov slotted a shot home for his first of the night.
Tampa Bay kept pressing and earned a late corner kick. Substitute midfielder Evans Frimpong took the corner and curled a ball into the front post where Hristov ran on and met the ball with a diving header for the game winner.
Rowdies Coach Ricky Hill added, “[We] shouldn’t have found ourselves in the position we did. I’m delighted we started off the fall season with a victory at home for our great fans. They will always be the twelfth and thirteenth man and tonight I’m glad we were able to repay them.”
Picking up where they left off, Spring champions Minnesota United FC defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers by a score of 3-0 at historic Lockhart Stadium. Goals from Daniel Mendes, Christian Ramirez and Miguel Ibarra gave the visitors all three points.
Minnesota took the lead from a corner kick midway through the first half. Justin Davis sent in a goal-bound in-swinging ball to the near post that Kamil Contofalsky could only parry off the line. Mendes was there to tap the rebound into the net to put the visitors in front 1-0.
Minnesota came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, doubling their lead in the 59th minute through Ramirez. Justin Davis tore down the left-hand side and sent in a low ball across the six-yard box. Minnesota’s goal and assist leader Ramirez was at the back post to turn the ball into the net to make it 2-0.
Anderson and Jenison Brito had opportunities to score for the Strikers but neither could keep their efforts on target. Second-half substitute Aly Alberto Hassan also struck the post. The impressive Hildebrandt was forced into more key saves. The United FC keeper came up with a total of five on the night.
Miguel Ibarra crushed any hope of a Strikers comeback in the 78th minute, capitalizing on a defensive error by Rafael Alves to put Minnesota up 3-0. The Brazilian defender attempted a clearance but played the ball right into the chest of the United FC attacker. Ibarra rounded Contofalsky and calmly tucked the ball into the open net to secure victory for Minnesota.
NASL Fall Season Week 1 Results
Saturday, July 12
New York Cosmos 1 San Antonio Scorpions 3
Carolina RailHawks 1 Indy Eleven 2
Tampa Bay Rowdies 3 Atlanta Silverbacks 2
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0 Minnesota United FC 3
Sunday, July 13
FC Edmonton v Ottawa Fury FC
NASL FALL STANDINGS
NASL Spring Final Standings
Tiebreakers: 1.) Goal difference 2.) Goals scored 3.) Head-to-head 4.) Away goal difference 5.) Away goals scored
The Championship Defined
As a reminder, the Minnesota United FC and Fall Season champions will be joined in the semifinals of The Championship by the two clubs with the next best overall records from both seasons combined. The semi final winners will compete in The Championship final.
About the NASL
The North American Soccer League is a professional soccer league established in the United States and Canada. The NASL member teams are: Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, FC Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Indy Eleven, Minnesota United FC, New York Cosmos, Ottawa Fury FC, San Antonio Scorpions FC and Tampa Bay Rowdies. Jacksonville Armada, Virginia Cavalry FC and Oklahoma City will commence play in 2015. For more information about the NASL, visit www.NASL.com. Follow the NASL on Twitter @NASLOfficial and Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NASLfans. Fans can watch every game live at www.NASLlive.com.