North American Soccer League teams still have plenty of time to make runs for playoff berths in the fall season, but the playoff picture is starting to become clear.
The New York Cosmos recorded a win over Minnesota United this weekend for a more comfortable lead in the standings. Though FC Edmonton can still reclaim the top spot, Miami FC is putting pressure on the top-two teams in its seven-game unbeaten streak.
Among the other results last weekend were a five-goal Rayo OKC home win and a couple of scoreless draws among teams at the bottom and middle of the table.
While the Cosmos continue to excel this season, Minnesota, Edmonton and Indy Eleven have hit rough patches in recent weeks.
Here is a closer look at this weekend’s NASL action:
COSMOS MORE COMFORTABLE AT THE TOP
A couple of weeks ago, the New York Cosmos eclipsed FC Edmonton to take first place in the league. This weekend, the Cosmos extended the lead.
A 1-0 win over Minnesota United on Saturday allowed the Cosmos to jump six points clear of Edmonton. However, the Eddies still have two games in hand, which they can capitalize on to pull level with New York.
The Cosmos also stayed unbeaten at home (12-1-0) with the victory.
MIAMI FC CLIMBS STANDINGS, BLANKS FC EDMONTON
Second-place FC Edmonton fell to red-hot Miami FC this past weekend. Alessandro Nesta’s team moved up to third place in the league with the 2-0 win as a result.
Miami extended its unbeaten streak to seven games with the victory on Sunday. Dario Cvitanich stayed hot with his eighth goal of the season, while Vincenzo Rennella sealed the win with his strike in the 71st minute.
The loss marks the third game in a row without a win for the Eddies.
RAYO OKC DOWNS JACKSONVILLE ARMADA AT HOME
Jacksonville Armada FC continues to fall in the standings. Rayo OKC recorded a routine home win over the Armada Sunday, giving new head coach Gerard Nus his first victory.
The 3-2 win was kept close by the Armada with a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time, but Rayo already established a two-goal lead in the second half. Sebastian Ibeagha and Marvin Chavez scored for OKC, along with an own goal from Armada defender Mechack Jerome.
STRIKERS BEAT ELEVEN, CONTINUE MOVING UP FALL TABLE
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to make a push for playoff contention.
A win over Spring Season champions Indy Eleven brought the Strikers to within four points from fifth-place Minnesota United. A playoff berth would still be a tough task for the seventh-place Strikers with Rayo OKC lying one spot above them.
Paulo Junior and Maicon Santos scored to record the win for the Strikers Saturday night. The Eleven pulled a goal back in the 88th minute through Justin Braun, but it wasn’t enough.
ROWDIES, PUERTO RICO FC PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW
A match at the bottom of the table between the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Puerto Rico FC provided little excitement with a scoreless finish.
Although Joe Cole has been a positive for the Rowdies this season, he made little impact in this match as both sides settled for a point. The teams combined for a total of 24 attempts in the game, but only managed seven combined shots on goal.
Puerto Rico FC is rock bottom in the fall standings. The Rowdies lie in tenth-place, three points ahead of Jacksonville Armada.
RAILHAWKS, FURY SETTLE FOR POINT IN SCORELESS DRAW
Another team with some firepower in the NASL settled for a scoreless draw Saturday night, as Omar Bravo, Matt Fondy and the Carolina Railhawks played to a 0-0 tie against the Ottawa Fury.
The Railhawks held the Fury to only two shots on goal during the match, but didn’t succeed in converting 12 shots on the other end of the field.
Ottawa only stands two points behind Carolian in ninth place. The playoffs are pretty well out of reach for the Canadians, but the Railhawks have a game in hand on Rayo OKC and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, who are directly above them in the standings.