By EVAN REAM
In a weekend that saw just six total goals in five games, Fort Lauderdale Strikers midfielder Mark Anderson scored what turned out to be the most important, giving the Strikers a 1-0 win over the Carolina RailHawks, taking the club’s playoff destiny into their own hands with the win.
The second-half strike, which was set up with a cross from Darnell King, gave the Strikers all three points and ensured that the team would control its own destiny with five matches remaining in the Fall and Combined Seasons.
For the second straight week, the weather had an impact on the game for the Strikers: last week their match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies was rescheduled, and Saturday the team was forced to wait 35 minutes to play the final three minutes of the game due to a lightning delay.
The Strikers have now won two straight, but their next three matches are all on the road.
Here’s a look at the rest of the weekend’s action in NASL:
FURY CONTINUE GOOD RUN OF FORM AGAINST SCORPIONS
It won’t be enough for them to make the playoffs, but Ottawa Fury FC garnered their 10th point in the five matches in a 1-1 draw against the second-place San Antonio Scorpions after gaining just 16 points in their first 18 games of the combined season.
The Scorpions looked like they would be taking all three points thanks to a 1-0 lead provided by midfielder Rafael Castillo, but the Canadian side equalized in the 90th minute when Ryan Richter latched on to a loose ball in the box and fired home.
While the Fury sit seven points out of a playoff spot with four games left to play, the result saw San Antonio go 12 points clear of fifth place, meaning that the Texans can clinch a playoff spot next weekend when they host a reeling Tampa Bay side.
COSMOS PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW WITH INDY ELEVEN
For the first time in four weeks, and just the fourth time of the fall season, the New York Cosmos registered a shutout.
Unfortunately for the home side though, so did Indy Eleven, as the pair played to a deadlock in front of 6,225 fans at Shuart Stadium.
German goalkeeper Kristian Nicht proved to be the hero for the Eleven, saving all seven of the Cosmos’ shots on goal in a game where New York was unlucky to not come away with a victory.
RAMIREZ SCORES AGAIN TO DOWN SILVERBACKS
Scoring off of a rebound in the second half, Minnesota United FC’s Christian Ramirez not only delivered all three points to the home side, but also took an eight-goal lead in the NASL Golden Boot Award with his club-record 17th strike of the season.
The result gave United a seven-point lead over San Antonio for the No. 1 playoff seed, while all-but mathematically eliminating the Silverbacks from playoff contention.
ROWDIES, EDDIES PLAY TO DRAW
2013 NASL MVP Georgi Hristov scored from the penalty spot to erase a 1-0 deficit and give Tampa Bay its first goal in 268 minutes, as well as their first point in three matches.
Former Rowdie and St. Petersburg native Chad Burt opened the scoring for FC Edmonton late in the first half after Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens couldn’t hold onto a shot from Neil Hlavaty.
What do you make of this weekend’s NASL results? Which teams impressed you?
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