By MIKE GRAMAJO
It’s not just Major League Soccer clubs that are opening soccer-specific stadiums anymore.
The San Antonio Scorpions will open up their new stadium, named Toyota Field, when they host the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night in NASL week two action. The 8,000 seat facility is across the street from their former stadium, and it’s expandable to 18,000 seats if the club ever makes the jump to MLS.
The Atlanta Silverbacks begin their 2013 NASL campaign when they host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday in Atlanta Silverbacks Park. The Silverbacks made some noise in the offseason with two major signings. Looking to overcome last season’s seventh place finish, the club signed former Mexico U-20 forward and FC Dallas homegrown player Ruben Luna, as well as inking former Villarreal CF youth product midfielder Brandon Manzonelli to a contract.
One team that has been ever present in the lower divisions of U.S. soccer is the Carolina RailHawks, and they’ll have their home opener this weekend when FC Edmonton makes the long trip to Cary, NC.
Minnesota United FC, who were held to a 0-0 draw at home against San Antonio last Saturday, will have a bye-week going into this weekend.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s NASL match-ups:
San Antonio clash with Tampa Bay
San Antonio looks to avoid losing a home-opener for the second straight season, especially against the 2012 NASL Soccer Bowl champions.
The Scorpions started their season last week on the road when they played Minnesota United FC to a scoreless draw. Without last season’s top scorer Pablo Campos, the Texas side will have to find new players to replace the 20 goals that Campos took with him to Minnesota.
With what could possibly be the match-to-watch this weekend, the 2012 regular season champions will be looking to register their first win for the 2013 campaign. San Antonio, who lost their home opener last year, finished 3-0-1 against the eventual Soccer Bowl champions.
Ft. Lauderdale Visits Atlanta
Fort Lauderdale nearly won their first of the season last week, but had to settle for a draw. This time around, they’ll be itching to pick up that big first win, and a key three points on the road when they travel to face the Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday.
Atlanta have yet to record a home opening win since joining the NASL in 2011, having a 0-1-1 record during their home openings.
Matt Horth, who lead the Silverbacks in scoring last season with ten goals, signed with the New England Revolution of MLS during the offseason, meaning that the Georgia club will be leaning heavily on the new signing Luna for goals this season.
Strikers forward David Foley scored last week to give his side a lead, and nearly added another, making him a dangerous piece of the Strikers attack going forward.
Carolina RailHawks Host FC Edmonton
If the Carolina RailHawks want to build on their playoff run from last year, it will take a consistent Nick Zimmerman to guide the RailHawks.
Zimmerman, who tallied 15 goals for the RailHawks, came runner-up in the scoring chart last season. This season, he’ll have the help of Jamaican forward Nicholas Adderley up top and former Colorado Rapids midfielder Ciaran O’Brien, zipping passes through the midfield.
FC Edmonton faces another long trip to the east coast of the United States, but will lifted by the 1-1 draw last Saturday, and the overall play of midfielder Shaun Saiko.
What do you make of this week’s matches? Which games will you have your eye on? Excited to see Manzonelli playing in the States again?
Share your thoughts below.
Hey Ives, Pittsburgh is opening it’s own soccer specific stadium tonight for our USL Pro Side, the Riverhounds. I lived in NYC for many years and went to the opening match at Red Bull Arena – which is an awesome stadium, but hard to think that there is a stadium with a better view than this: http://goal.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/12/the-pittsburgh-paradox/. Give us a USL Pro preview – and good coverage.
Finding a USL PRO writer is on our things-to-do list.
in case anyone’s interested, bobby wood’s come on in the 65′ for 1860 munich, who are down 2-0 to st. pauli. gyau’s not dressed today (the little rascal).
Toyota Field is going to be awesome!
S-A, Clap-Clap, F-C!
Nah. A to tha S to tha mutha****in FC.
It will be nice for the Rowdies to be the first winners at the Scorpion’s new field.
Color me jealous that you have a SSS. 8k seating. Real grass. Well done SA. Well done.
Hi, wished we had an NASL team down here in Miami. We do have NPSL team called Miami United that is starting it’s first season.
What about the Strikers?
Ft Lauderdale Strikers, formerly Miami FC. And, “presto” now you have a team! Look ’em up and come on down. The NASL is a blast!
hey ives- what you think about el paso being a future soccer city because we what it takes
soccer bowl? really? lame…..Whats up with mixing footbal and football
Well son, it’s called tradition. Ya see, back when you were just a gleam in yer mother’s eye, there was another American soccer league called the NASL. They were the top league in the country back then. And their championship game was called the Soccer Bowl. Ya learn something every day, don’t ya?
Your slant on the Atlanta vs Fort Lauderdale match is all wrong. It’s going to be an Atlanta landslide.
My grand slam was supposed to be with sausage.
Awesome. Hey Ives, how about a little NASL / USL coverage in the podcast?
The Startribune in Minnesota has been covering MN United starting this if anyone is interest in NASL news. Can’t believe I have two legit sources for United coverage (SBI, Startribune) http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/SoccerCentric.html
nice for Nasl to get more attention and teams look more professional. by the way well paso texas where I live wants to make a soccer stadium. will we get Nasl or Mls