NASL Week 13 Recap: Scorpions Back on Top, Rowdies Rising Upwards
Week 13 of the NASL season saw the San Antonio Scorpions regain first place with their 3-0 home win over the Atlanta Silverbacks Saturday, coupled with the Puerto Rico Islanders’ scoreless draw in Edmonton Sunday. San Antonio now leads the Islanders by one points in the NASL standings as the two teams tussle back and forth for league supremacy. Also on Saturday, the Tampa Bay Rowdies earned their third consecutive win by shutting out the visiting Minnesota Stars 2-0 while the Fort Lauderdale Strikers finished off the month of June on a high note, cooling off the hot Carolina RailHawks 2-1.
San Antonio Scorpions 3-0 Atlanta Silverbacks
The San Antonio Scorpions bounced back from last week’s last minute loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies to defeat the Atlanta Silverbacks for the second time in June by a 3-0 score. The win raised the Scorpions’ record to 7-4-2 in their first season of play.
Pablo Campos was the scoring hero for the Scorpions, scoring twice in the second half after teammate Esteban Bayona had given the Scorpions the only goal they needed in the 24th minute of the contest. Bayona has now scored in three consecutive matches for San Antonio, while Campos now leads the NASL with eight goals, and Scorpions keeper Daryl Sattler recorded his seventh shutout of the season.
“All these games are difficult and it was great getting three points tonight,” Scorpions head coach Tim Hankinson said. “We’ll be fighting for three points on Wednesday and we’ve got Puerto Rico and Ft. Lauderdale coming up. It’s important to focus on the next three games as well.”
Almost 12,000 fans were in attendance at Heroes Field Saturday to see the Scorpions and a second match featuring Mexican club Monterrey CF defeating San Luis Potosi 1-0. The rebranded Liga MX regular season kicks off in three weeks. For more on the Scorpions-Silverbacks, check out Andrew Arellano’s earlier recap on IMSoccer News.
Meanwhile, Atlanta continue to spiral downward. After winning their first game in June, they finish the month losing four in a row by an aggregate deficit of 10 goals to one. The Silverbacks announced Sunday night that coach Alex Pineda Chacón has been sacked and a new coach will be announced on Monday morning.
FC Edmonton 0-0 Puerto Rico Islanders
FC Edmonton earned a point on a rainy Canada Day Sunday in Alberta by holding the Puerto Rico Islanders to a scoreless draw. Adrian Whitbread’s Islanders were unable to come up with much in the way of offensive statistics in the match, earning only four shots and one corner kick as they missed a chance to hold onto their NASL first-place berth in the table.
Almost 1,500 fans at Clarke Stadium saw Eddies’ midfielder Shaun Saiko take the Edmonton attack by the scruff of the neck as he led his teammates with five shots, with two on frame. His best scoring opportunity came in the 33rd minute, when his shot missed the far post.
Calamity occurred in the 57th minute for Harry Sinkgraven’s team when defender Kevin Hatchi was ejected from the match on his second yellow card, but the Eddies were able to keep the Islanders at bay and still managed a shot advantage in the second half over their Caribbean opponents. Despite being a man down, Sinkgraven brought in three attackers with fresh legs in the second half, going for all three points, but the best the Eddies earned for their efforts was a draw and a clean sheet for goalkeepers Lance Parker and Ray Burse. The Eddies travel to San Antonio for a July 4th match while the Islanders will spend the holiday playing at NSC Stadium against the Minnesota Stars.
Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-0 Minnesota Stars FC
The Tampa Bay Rowdies won their third consecutive match, downing the Minnesota Stars 2-0 Saturday at Al Lang Stadium. The 2,600 fans on hand saw the Rowdies’ forward Mike Ambersley open the scoring ten minutes into the second half, with midfielder Tsuyoshi Yoshitake adding an insurance goal in the 88th minute. Luke Mulholland and Keith Savage were credited with assists on the two goals as Jeff Attinella earned the clean sheet by making four saves in a match that was highlighted by a total of 37 shots from both clubs.
The win for Ricky Hill’s Rowdies earns them third place in the NASL standings, one point ahead of their Saturday night visitors. For more on the matchup, see Brian Quarstad’s recap.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 Carolina RailHawks
The Strikers received another two goals from en fuego attacker Mark Anderson to earn their fifth win of the campaign in defeating the RailHawks 2-0 at Lockhart Stadium. Anderson, the 23-year-old English rookie from nearby Barry University, tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the season.
“Mark’s a special player, he’s not only good at scoring goals, he also sets up his teammates,” said Strikers head coach Daryl Shore. “Mark gets what he deserves because he works so hard for it.”
Coach Colin Clarke’s RailHawks headed to Lockhart having won four NASL matches in a row by a combined 11-2 margin, but it was the Strikers who got a quick goal when Anderson tallied in the fifth minute when his shot deflected off a RailHawks player into the net. The 5’10″midfielder took a pass from Scott Lorenz inside the penalty area in stoppage time to double the Strikers lead 2-0 heading into intermission. The Strikers had a first half edge in shots, 7-4, and corner kicks, 4-1, over their Carolina rivals.
The second half was scoreless until Carolina’s Nick Zimmerman scored following a RailHawks cross that hit the post in the 83rd minute, spoiling the clean sheet for Strikers keeper Matt Glaeser. Unfortunately for Carolina, they couldn’t find another goal to at least earn a road point as the Strikers held on for all three points in a match where Anderson had five shots on goal, giving Ft. Lauderdale a nice win in front of the 3,500 fans on hand. The win has the Strikers in fifth place in the table, two points ahead of the RailHawks. The RailHawks return home for a Tuesday match against the Atlanta Silverbacks while on the 4th of July the Strikers will face Florida foes Tampa Bay at Al Lang Stadium.