The Carolina Railhawks have absolutely nothing to play for and it showed with a toothless 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact, a team with everything to play for.
The NSC Minnesota Stars managed to keep distance between themselves and seventh-placed Montreal with a 2-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks. The Stars remain three points ahead of Montreal but hold an inferior goal-differential with two games remaining for both teams. Minnesota snapped a four-game losing streak and won its first game since Aug. 6. Minnesota wraps up the season with a road-trips to FC Tampa Bay and Carolina Railhawks.
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers used a furious finish to wrap up their playoff berth with a 2-1 comeback victory. A win could have put Edmonton in third place but the expansion side is still secure in their playoff future and can still capture a home game when the postseason rolls around.
Here is a look back at all the action in the NASL over the weekend
NSC Minnesota Stars 2, Atlanta Silverbacks 0
A date with the league's worst team couldn't have come at a better time for the Minnesota Stars, who are clinging for dear life on to the final playoff spot.
Minnesota's 2-0 victory snapped a seven-game winless streak for the Stars and jump-started an offense that had scored only three times in those seven games. Jeff Cosgriff put the Stars ahead in the 12th minute with a breakaway goal to mark his return from injury. Montreal had to fight off a few chances from Atlanta before insurance came in the form of a Kyle Altman penalty after a Silverbacks defender handled the ball in the box.
Joe Warren recorded his seventh shutout of the season and the Stars can wrap up a playoff spot with a win at Tampa Bay combined with a loss or a tie for Montreal against Edmonton
Montreal Impact 1, Carolina Railhawks 0
An impressive defensive effort for the Montreal Impact was enough to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The home side dominated the league's most potent offense, limiting the Railhawks to four shots for the game while firing off 18 of their own. Luke Kreamalmeyer scored the only goal the Impact would need in the 40th minute, capitalizing on Brad Knighton's goalkeeping error.
The Railhawks suffered a second-consecutive defeat for the first time all season and were lucky not to lose by more as Knighton made up for his early error with 11 saves, matching a club record.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2, FC Edmonton 1
A draw would have been enough for Fort Lauderdale to wrap up a playoff spot but a late goal to hand the Strikers a win will do just fine.
Brian Shriver scored the decisive goal in the 90thminute as Fort Lauderdale won their third game in a row of the expansion Edmonton. FC Edmonton opened the scoring in the 44thminute when John Jonke headed home Paul Hamilton’s long free kick. The equalizer came for Fort Lauderdale when Hamilton saw the ball go into his own net midway through the second half.
Fort Lauderdale moves into a tie for third place but FC Tampa Bay holds the edge in tiebreakers. The Strikers need a win in one of their final two games to guarantee a home game in the playoffs.
What did you think of this weekend's results? Can the Stars hold off the Impact? Do you foresee Edmonton doing some damage in the playoffs? Worried about Carolina's loss?
Rowdies should have just about every player healthy and ready to play.
Primed for a playoff run.
Big game on Saturday in St. Pete, Florida. With a win, the Tampa Rowdies will almost certainly get a home field advantage in the 1/4 finals, while the Stars have the Montreal Impact right behind them, waiting for a slip…should be a good one!
Come on, you Rowdies!
Real interesting race for 6th between Minnesota and Montreal. Minnesota is, essentially, up by 2.5pts., and both have 2 games left.
Carolina is able to play some fresher players and try out some different tactics, all of it without fear of consequence, but geez – they had a chance to make Montreal dormie with Minnesota (to use golf’s matchplay term), and just never really seemed to be into the game.