By JOHN BOSCHINI
Don't look now, but the Atlanta Silverbacks are starting to string together some results.
Atlanta and fellow bottom-dweller Montreal Impact battled to a 2-2 draw in Canada on Sunday. It was the first time in 2011 the Atlanta Silverbacks were able to stay unbeaten over two games. Montreal's difficult run of form continues as the Impact has not won since June 1.
FC Edmonton failed to take advantage of Carolina's midweek draw with a 2-1 loss to FC Tampa Bay. Edmonton still trails the Railhawks by 13 points and is down to third in the standings. FC Tampa Bay is out of sixth place and now finds itself less than five points outside of second place as the middle of the NASL table has begun to bunch up.
The Puerto Rico Islanders are back into second place with a narrow 1-0 win over the NSC Minnesota Stars. The Islanders have risen back to second place despite a razor-thin +1 goal differential. The Stars were shutout for the first time since June 11.
Here is a look back at all the action in the NASL over the weekend:
Montreal Impact 2, Atlanta Silverbacks 2
A late goal from Eduardo Sebrango denied Atlanta its second straight win and kept some distance between the Impact and the Silverbacks.
The visiting Silverbacks took an early lead when Matt Horth directed Tyler Ruthven's cross past Evan Bush. The Impact goalkeeper was called upon again in the 20th minute and denied Luke Kreamalmeyer from close range but it was Montreal who would equalize before half. Sebrango pounced on a pass from Mignane Diouf and converted from the middle of the penalty area.
Horth completed his brace to give Atlanta another lead just after halftime with a headed goal but Sebrango saved Montreal's blushes with a headed goal off a corner kick in the dying minutes of the game.
FC Tampa Bay 2, FC Edmonton 1
Mike Ambersley's second-half goal gave visiting FC Tampa Bay a vital 2-1 win over Edmonton.
Kyle Porter scored in the 19th minute courtesy of an assist from Ilja Van Leerdam. After going down a goal, Tampa Bay's offense kicked into gear, hitting the post in the 21st minute before finally tying it on the half-hour mark with a goal from Aaron King.
Ambersley scored his eight goal of the season in the 71st minute and Edmonton couldn't recover. Ambersley is now tied with Jonathan Fana for second in the league's goal scoring table and FC Tampa Bay has opened up a four-game unbeaten streak.
Puerto Rico Islanders 1, NSC Minnesota Stars 0
Jarad Van Schaik's simple tap-in gave Puerto Rico a late victory over Minnesota.
Neither team saw much in the way of offense and David Foley's cross to Van Schaik for a simple goal being one the game's few chances.
What did you think of this weekend's results? Excited to see Atlanta play well? Could FC Tampa Bay be a dark-horse contender in the playoffs?
Share your thoughts below.