By MIKE GRAMAJO
The second half of the North American Soccer League is underway and with a new addition to the league.
The New York Cosmos didn’t wait long to get there first three points of the fall campaign. Late-night drama surged the new NASL side to a 2-1 victory thanks to Alessandro Noselli’s stoppage-time goal, Saturday night at James Shuart Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 11,929.
“He’s a striker, a player who we know what he’s capable of,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said of Noselli’s late-game winner. “He scored in Italy for many years. He was very smart reading the play and being able to put it in dramatically at the end.”
Forward Peri Marosevic opened up the scoring for the Cosmos right before the halftime mark, as the former Toronto FC man slid in a miscue from the Strikers defense which ultimately beat Strikers on-loan goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.
Walter Restrepo leveled the match in the 74th minute for Fort Lauderdale after his header from a Strikers attack hammered its way past Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish. Alessandro Noselli’s substitution in the 60th minute paid pivotal dividends after a failed clearance from the Strikers lead the Italian to nail the ball back towards the net in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
Here’s a closer look at the rest of Week 1 action:
ROWDIES ROUTE SCORPIONS ON THE ROAD
It looked like the Tampa Bay Rowdies would begin their fall campaign with a disappointment.
After trailing 3-0 within the first 18 minutes of play, coach Ricky Hill’s side would spark one of the biggest comeback in recent memory, scoring seven goals to top the San Antonio Scorpions, 7-4, on Saturday night at Toyota Field.
“We were down 3-0 and the guys never gave up,” Rowdies new acquisition Etienne Barbara told the team’s website after the game. “Even when we were down, we continued to play organized, knowing we could turn this match around.”
Hans Denissen’s early brace and Tomasz Zahorski’s strike had the Scorpions up 3-0 in the first 20 minutes of the game.
Thing changed suddenly.
The Rowdies would go on to score five unanswered goals courtesy of Luke Mulholland, Keith Savage, Evans Frimpong, Amani Walker and Georgi Hristov. Tomasz Zahorski stopped the Rowdies’ goal-scoring spree in the 80th minute after his goal cut the deficit down to one.
Newcomer Etienne Barbara’s strike in the 85th minute was the dagger, and Georgi Hristov’s sealed his brace in the 90th minute when his penalty kick finished the match for the St. Petersburg side.
SILVERBACKS TOP UNITED
Mike Randolph’s 22nd-minute goal made sure the 2012 spring champions got their first three points in the fall campaign. as the Atlanta Silverbacks beat Minnesota United 1-0 at on Saturday night at the National Sports Center.
After controlling possession in the early minutes of the first half, defender Mike Randolph opened up the scoring after a corner kick from Danny Barrera found the Former LA Galaxy man to slot the ball into the net for the early lead.
United had several miss opportunities, Pablo Campos’ header in the 78th minute was sure to level the match, but Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco was in the right spot to make the dyer save.
Despite fielding offseason newcomers lum Mallace and Sinisa Ubiparipovic, United failed to level or take the match in front of their own crowd. The Silverbacks head back home for Saturday’s match against a Carolina RailHawks side that was stripped off the championship in the last week of the spring campaign.
EDDIES FALL TO RAILHAWKS AT WAKEMED
The race for the Golden Boot has kicked off.
Brian Shriver’s 31st minute goal sealed the victory, as the Carolina RailHawks topped FC Edmonton at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, in front of 4,488 fans despite the match being delayed for two hours cause of natural causes.
“We talked about from the first season to this season, being more ruthless and taking our chances,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke told Indy Week. “We let them back in the second half through not taking our chances and finishing the game off.”
A combination play in the 31st minute that was started by Enzo Martinez who’s ball found Brian Ackley and seconds later found Shriver to bury the ball for his ninth goal of the season.
The Eddies go back home on Sunday as they host the Scorpions, while the RailHawks visit the Silverbacks on Saturday.
What did you think of Week 1? Like seeing the Cosmos grab their first victory after three decades? Can the Silverbacks can win the fall season? Do the RailHawks have the drive to bounce back from the spring?
Share your thoughts below.