The RailHawks Breiner Ortiz just misses on a shot for Carolina. Photo by Rob Kinnan.
The 12th week of the NASL season saw the Islanders return to first place in the table with a 2-1 road win over the struggling Silverbacks, while the Carolina RailHawks won their fourth in a row, shutting out FC Edmonton 2-0. The Tampa Bay Rowdies turned the tables on the San Antonio Scorpions, taking all three points in a 3-2 thriller while the Minnesota Stars got back to winning ways, defeating the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1.
Atlanta Silverbacks 1-2 Puerto Rico Islanders
On the heels of another qualification for the CONCACAF Champions League Thursday, the Islanders grabbed first place back from the upstart Scorpions by edging the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 in front of another large Silverbacks Stadium crowd.
The Silverbacks’ Matt Horth had two early opportunities to give Atlanta the lead, but it was Puerto Rico who got on the scoreboard first as veteran Nicholas Addlery scored his fourth of the season off a fine run from midfielder Yaw Danso in the 15th minute. Horth, however, found the equalizer twenty minutes later, as Danilo Turcios supplied an excellent pass that Horth placed into the far corner of the net past Islanders’ keeper Cody Laurendi. The first half ended with the score knotted at one goal apiece.
Addlery was the difference maker in the Islanders’ win when he scored his second goal of the match in the 70th minute. Substitute David Foley found the Jamaican with a long pass, and Addlery dribbled in and beat goalkeeper Daniel Illyes for the game winner. Atlanta’s Jose Burciaga Jr. had a chance for an equalizer late but his shot was just wide of the far post and the Silverbacks suffered another tough loss to fall to a 1-5-7 mark on the season, despite equaling the Islanders in shots with 12 each. The Silverbacks will travel to San Antonio for their match next Saturday, while Adrian Whitbread and his Islanders will be on the road against FC Edmonton in a fixture next Sunday. Whitbread rested several starters in the the Atlanta match.
Carolina RailHawks 2-0 FC Edmonton
The Carolina RailHawks won their fourth straight match while extending their unbeaten streak to six games in league play with a 2-0 win in Cary Saturday over FC Edmonton. The victory also avenged the RailHawks’ last defeat, a 3-0 spanking administered by the Eddies up in Canada May 6 in which midfielder Shaun Saiko scored a hat trick.
A Cary crowd of 3,600 saw the hometown team score both its goals within a four-minute span in the first half. In the 34th minute Carolina’s Austen Da Luz fed attacker Nick Zimmerman down the left, who beat Eddies’ defender Paul Hamilton, sliding and getting up along the touchline to put his sixth goal of the season right through the legs of Edmonton goalkeeper Lance Parker for the game’s first score. Midfielder Breiner Ortiz, who had made a fine run and cross down the left flank just prior to Zimmerman’s goal, was the beneficiary of a quality offensive build up. The RailHawks created a turnover near midfield, followed by a Zimmerman pass upfield to Zach Schilawski, whose one-touch pass gave Ortiz a perfect chance to left-foot a ball into the far corner of the Edmonton net. It was Ortiz’ first NASL goal.
The game’s beginning saw Carolina challenge Parker with a series of attempts that the goalkeeper denied, while the Eddies’ Ilja van Leerdam forced the RailHawks’ Ray Burse into a diving save in the 15th minute. But the Eddies could never catch up with the two -goal explosion that put the RailHawks in the driver’s seat. Although Harry Sinkgraven’s Eddies launched nine shots in the second half and had a man advantage for about 12 minutes following the 2nd yellow card dismissal of Carolina’s Amir Lowery, the visitors remained at 11 points on the season, five outside of the final playoff spot. Meanwhile, another win by Colin Clarke’s RailHawks has evened their season mark at 5-3-5, good for the fifth spot in the NASL standings.
Tampa Bay Rowdies 3-2 San Antonio Scorpions
Ricky Hill’s Rowdies won a wild one at Al Lang Stadium Saturday, knocking the expansion San Antonio Scorpions out of first place on a late Tsuyoshi Yoshitake goal for a 3-2 victory, ending the Scorpions’ undefeated streak that had begun in the third league game of the season. The loss placed the Scorpions back in second place, only one point behind the Islanders.
San Antonio’s Jonathan Greenfield scored the contest’s first goal in the 31st minute when he left-footed a tough-angle shot near the goalline from an Esteban Bayona pass that beat a frustrated Jeff Attinella in the Rowdies goal. Bayona nearly doubled the black-clad Scorpions’ lead a few minutes later, but was denied by the Tampa Bay keeper, and Rowdies’ midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake equalized on a header from a Keith Savage cross in the 39th minute. The half ended 1-1 with San Antonio outshooting Tampa Bay 9-3.
Bayona, the 28-year-old Colombian who is becoming an attacking force for the Scorpions, gave San Antonio another rainy Saturday night lead when he scored seven minutes into the second half, taking advantage of some sloppy defending by the Rowdies in the six yard box to slip the ball into the net. The Scorpions maintained their one goal advantage until late in the match, when Englishman Luke Mulholland delivered a free kick past former Tampa Bay keeper Daryl Sattler to tie the score. Then, on the last play of the game, the Rowdies earned all three points as Yoshitake right-footed a shot from inside the box while falling backwards to thrill the 2,500 fans in attendance, and change a no-result match for the Rowdies into a three-point winner for their second victory in a row.
Minnesota Stars FC 2-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
All it took was a little home cookin’ to get the Stars another win after dropping two in a row following an undefeated start to the 2012 NASL season. Manny Lagos’ club got first-half goals from veterans Neil Hlavaty and Simone Bracalello, sandwiched around a score by red-hot Mark Anderson of the Strikers, to reward the almost 2,500 Stars fans at NSC Stadium Saturday. For more on the match, see Megan Ryan’s earlier recap