By JOHN BOSCHINI
The Atlanta Silverbacks may have failed in their bid to win their second straight game but there's no denial that fortunes are turning down South.
A late goal gave FC Tampa Bay a 3-2 victory over the Silverbacks. Atlanta came from behind twice before Aaron King scored in the 86th minute. The win moves FC Tampa Bay five points clear of the Montreal Impact for the final playoff spot in sixth place.
The NSC Minnesota Stars' challenge of the Carolina Railhawks took a serious blow with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Fort Lauderdale is unbeaten in its last four games, including winning its last two games by a combined score of 6-2.
With Minnesota falling away, Carolina extended its winning streak to seven games with a 1-0 victory over third-placed Edmonton FC. Carolina's lead is now into the double digits and is well on its way to a regular-season NASL title.
The Montreal Impact's calamitous season continued with a 2-1 loss to the Puerto Rico Islanders, who kept some hope of recaliming first place in the NASL with their first win since April.
Here is a look back at the results in the NASL.
Carolina Railhawks 1, FC Edmonton 0
FC Edmonton held Carolina for a half but couldn't stop a dominating Railhawks' offense, which extended its unbeaten run to nine games.
After a scoreless opening 45 minutes, the Railhawks offensive machine kicked into high gear. Matt Watson scored his first goal of the season just seven minutes after the restart to break the deadlock. Etienne Barbara seemed to have scored his 13th goal of the season but was waived offside after a delay.
Often overlooked among the offense is the form of Brad Knighton. The former Philadelphia Union keeper earned his fourth shutout of the season.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3, NSC Minnesota Stars 0
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers scored nine goals in their first eight games but have exploded for six in their last two matchups.
Yoximar Granado netted a double and Brian Shriver added a goal of his own as all three goals in the second half. After a few class saves from Matt Glaeser kept the game scoreless, the Minnesota defense crumbled. Yoximar Granado beat Joe Warren to the near post early in the second half and Shriver scored seconds after coming on as a substitute.
FC Tampa Bay 3, Atlanta Silverbacks 2
FC Tampa Bay finally downed a pesky Atlanta squad that came from behind twice to win 3-2.
Mike Ambersley opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a nice finish off a Tsuyoshi Yoshitake cross. The lead was short lived as Willie Hunt equalized three minutes later. The game remained tied until Ambersley scored a second goal in the 54th minute.
Jordan Davis deflected a Ciaran O'Brien free kick past Jeff Attinella to equalized again in the 64th minute. The two teams seemed destined for a tie until Aaron King scored in the 86th minute to secure Tampa Bay's third win of the season.
Puerto Rico Islanders 2, Montreal Impact 1
Aaron Pitchkolan opened the scoring for Puerto Rico in the 24th minute, finishing into an empty net after a chaotic corner kick. Montreal equalized when Amir Lowery was the benfeciary of incisive passing from the Impact and scored from six yards out.
Puerto Rico didn't have to wait long for its game winner. Nicholas Addlery's header from 12 yards out beat Bill Gaudette just three minutes later. Montreal couldn't find another goal and slumped to its six loss of the season.
What did you think of this weekend's results? Impressed with Atlanta despite the late loss? Can anyone stop Carolina?
Share your thoughts below.