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NASL Week 12: A Look Ahead



Worst meets first this weekend in the NASL as we approach the halfway point of the season.

The Atlanta Silverbacks have earned five points from 12 games, conceding 22 goals along the way. Conversely, the Carolina Railhawks have opened up an 11-point lead atop the NASL table and have scored 26 goals, nine more than the Puerto Rico Islanders.

Barely above the Silverbacks at the bottom of the table sits the Montreal Impact. Fortunately for the MLS-bound Impact, however, is the fact Edmonton sits next on its fixture list. Edmonton has struggled mightily against Montreal this season despite being second in the table overall, losing both games between the two sides by a combined score of 7-0.

The Islanders will hope to build upon a 3-1 victory over Atlanta last weekend in a matchup with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Fort Lauderdale got the better of the Islanders in a 3-2 thriller just a few weeks ago and have shown no signs of slowing down as they ride a five-game unbeaten streak.

Here is a look ahead at the trio of games on tap in the NASL:

Carolina Railhawks at Atlanta Silverbacks (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)

With Etienne Barbara back on form with a goal and two assists last weekend, the young Atlanta defense could be in for a very long evening. The Maltese striker leads the league in both goals and assists with 13 and seven, respectively. Another offensive threat for the Railhawks is Pablo Campos, who has six goals.

Atlanta has been playing better in the past few weeks, but its defense is far from solid, giving up 14 goals in the past seven games. The Silverbacks sit eight points behind FC Tampa Bay for a playoff spot and need to string a few wins together to gain some ground.

Puerto Rico Islanders at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)

You would be hard-pressed to find a more inconsistent team over the last month than the Islanders. The 2010 champions are 2-4-1 since May 1 with three of their losses coming by multiple goals. Still providing an offensive spark is Jonathan Fana, whose six goals is good for second in the league.

The Strikers are playing their best soccer of the season with a five-game unbeaten streak. However, three 0-0 draws in the middle of that streak underlines the need for offense in Fort Lauderdale as the Strikers have scored only 15 times all season. If their defense can hold up, a frustrated Islanders' defense could be vulnerable. 

Montreal Impact vs. FC Edmonton (Sunday, 6 p.m.) 

A date with Edmonton could not have come at a better time for the Impact. Both of the Impact's wins this season came against its Canadian rivals and Montreal has a -8 goal difference against all other opponents. 

If Edmonton can banish its demons against Montreal, it can make up some much-needed ground on Carolina. With a game in hand over third-place Minnesota, Edmonton can move five points clear of the Stars and put itself in a great position for the second half of the season.


What do you think of this weekend's games? Does Atlanta have any shot against Carolina? Can Edmonton finally get one over on the Impact? Who do you see winning between Puerto Rico and Fort Lauderdale?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Awesome chance for Carolina to extend its lead.

    Also, John seemed to hint at a great point in talking about the weekend’s Canadian derby, 2nd place in the final league standing is going to be important … 1st round bye, and choice home or away for the 1st game of the semis in the playoffs.

    Side question: Is there ANYTHING to be had for winning the NASL regular season this year (other than being able to raise a banner), or is ALL the glory in winning the finals of the playoffs?


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