By JOHN BOSCHINI
The NASL season is 10 weeks old, and the dominance of the Carolina Railhawks is beginning to feel a bit repetitive.
Etienne Barbara was named "Player of the Month" for May in one of the easiest decisions the league has ever made. The Maltese striker scored seven goals and provided five assists in only five matches in May, leading the Railhawks to a 5-0-0 record during that time.
Carolina holds an eight-point lead at the top of the table and faces an FC Edmonton side that has been hot and cold so far this season but still sits third with a game in hand.
Here is a look ahead to that game and the rest of the action this weekend in the NASL:
Carolina Railhawks at FC Edmonton (Friday, 9:30 p.m.)
FC Edmonton has been a little inconsistant when it comes to home form this season. A 5-0 thrashing courtesy of Montreal was answered with a 4-0 beatdown of FC Tampa Bay. Kyle Porter is Edmonton's most dangerous offensive threat with four goals thus far.
If Edmonton can somehow stop Barbara, which seems unlikely, it will still have to contend with Pablo Campos, who has scored six goals this season. Also in good form is goalkeper Brad Knighton, holder of three shutouts and a 0.89 goals against average.
NSC Minnesota Stars at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)
After their thrilling victory over the Puerto Rico Islanders last week, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers will carry that momentum into a matchup with the NSC Minnesota Stars. The second-place Stars have been one of the more consistant teams of the season but have lost twice on the road.
A potent Strikers' attack led by Eduardo Coudet might not be enough to offset a defense that is allowing nearly 1.25 goals per game. The Strikers haven't won by shutting out their opponents yet this season and its unlikely to start against Minnesota.
The Stars tied Fort Lauderdale when the two teams met back in May and could struggle on the road. That being said, Minnesota has been shut out only once this season and could have a breakout game against Fort Lauderdale.
Atlanta Silverbacks at FC Tampa Bay (Sunday, 6 p.m.)
It looked like it would never happen but the Atlanta Silverbacks finally broke through.
The Silverbacks finally got their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Montreal on Wednesday.
Whether this could turn in to a watershed moment for the Southeastern team is much less certain. Raphael Cox provided an assist and scored a goal on Wednesday and is Atlanta's biggest offensive threat.
FC Tampa Bay has scored only once in its last three games and is searching for an offensive spark. Keeping Tampa Bay in its game has been the form of goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, who leads the NASL with 47 saves.
Montreal Impact at Puerto Rico Islanders (Sunday, 6:05 p.m.)
The Puerto Rico Islanders are struggling, losing three of their last four, but face a Montreal team that can't seem to get it together against non-Canadian teams.
The Montreal Impact had the unfortunate honor of gifting Atlanta its first win of the season and, more worringly for the Impact, now sit only three points clear of the bottom of the table. No Montreal player has scored more than two goals this season but Bill Gaudette is a bright spot with a 0.88 goals against average.
The Puerto Rico Islanders need a win badly if they are to return to their early season form. Puerto Rico is winless since April 26, failing to score twice in that time frame.
What do you think of this weekend's games? Expecting Carolina to steamroll Edmonton or can the Canadians pull the upset? Can Atlanta make it two straight?
Share your thoughts below.