By COLE KELLOGG
A seven-goal performance from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers was just one of several surprises around NASL this weekend.
A hat-trick from red-hot striker Stefano Pinho along with braces from Marlon Freitas and PC handed the Strikers a 7-1 victory over Indy Eleven in Southern Florida on Saturday.
Another shocking result came in Ottawa, where the Fury could only manage a 2-2 draw with the last-place Tampa Bay Rowdies. Marc Dos Santos’ men couldn’t hold onto a two-goal lead as they settled for a second-straight draw in league play.
Raul and the New York Cosmos found themselves a second victory over the Carolina RailHawks in just over a week, but it didn’t come easy for the Spring Season champions. The former Real Madrid star missed what would have been a go-ahead penalty kick in the 80th minute, leaving it up to Lucky Mkosana to secure three points late.
Elsewhere around the league, the Atlanta Silverbacks shot up the table with a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton, and the Jacksonville Armada drew with the San Antonio Scorpions at home.
Here’s a closer look at this Week 10’s results:
STRIKERS PUT SEVEN PAST ELEVEN
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers put the ball in the net twice twice in the first seven minutes in a 7-1 route of Indy Eleven at home this weekend.
The goal-fest started in just the second minute, as Stefano Pinho hit a perfectly-timed bicycle kick to fire the Strikers into the lead. The goal came after Marlon Freitas had his shot saved and parried into Pinho’s path by the Indy goalkeeper. Eleven didn’t get much of a break, as PC drew and scored a penalty kick in the 7th minute.
Dane Richards gave hope to Indy in the 16th minute, taking advantage of a bad back pass by a Strikers defender and firing home to make it 2-1.
In the 20th minute, a spectacular solo effort from outside the box by Freitas gave the Strikers a two-goal lead.
Indy went down to 10 men in the 50th minute, as Marco Franco earned a red after a rash two-footed tackle on PC.
The Strikers then scored four goals in a span of 18 minutes. Freitas scored from outside the box again, putting a driven shot to the bottom left corner in the 67th minute. Pinho scored two in four minutes, losing his man and firing home from the top of the box in the 77th before getting on the end of a Freitas dribble from half field in the 81st minute. PC finished off the beating in the 85th, heading home a floated cross from Pinho.
ROWDIES MANAGE POINT AGAINST FURY
The top team in the NASL couldn’t get three points at home against the worst side on Saturday night, as the Ottawa Fury drew 2-2 with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Paulo Junior started the scoring for the Fury in the 18th minute, losing his defender and cutting inside before scoring by splitting a Rowdies defender and the goalkeeper.
In the 31st minute, Tom Heinemann turned his defender inside on the right touchline before driving a low cross to the center of the box for Oliver Minatel to fire home.
Just moments later in the 33rd minute, a deep free kick from Juan Guerra caused ruckus in the box, and Tamika Mkandawire headed in a goal to halve the Fury’s lead.
An 87th minute equalizer came from Darwin Espinal, with the substitute scoring using an outstretched leg after a series of headers in the box.
SILVERBACKS EDGE EDMONTON AT HOME
An 81st minute strike from Junior Burgos was all the Atlanta Silverbacks needed to earn a big 1-0 win over FC Edmonton this weekend.
Burgos scored the decisive goal with a brilliantly-taken free kick late in the match, dipping the ball into the lower-right corner of the net.
The win pushed the Silverbacks into second place in the standings, with Edmonton falling into sixth.
ARMADA PLAY TO SCORELESS DRAW WITH SCORPIONS
Not much action came out of a tightly contested 0-0 draw in Jacksonville on Saturday, as the Armada couldn’t find a win over the San Antonio Scorpions.
It was the league’s leading scorer, Scorpions forward Omar Cummings, who produced the best chance of the match in the 30th minute. Cummings dribbled into the box and tried to get around the Armada goalkeeper, but the initial effort was kept out and a follow-up shot was blocked by Lucas Saglia.
COSMOS DEFEAT RAILHAWKS AGAIN
For the second time in a week, the New York Cosmos earned three points against the Carolina RailHawks. On Sunday, Gio Savarese’s men won, 3-2, thanks to a late Lucky Mkosana strike.
A second-minute goal from Andres Flores put the Cosmos up 1-0, but the RailHawks came back to end the first half with a one-goal lead.
Nazmi Albadawi found the back of the net for the visitors in the 24th minute, finishing off a cross from Tiyi Shipalane for the RailHawks’ first goal. Albadawi found his second in the 42nd minute, when the midfielder struck from inside the box to fire his team into the lead.
In the 61st minute, though, the Cosmos earned a penalty after Mkosana was tripped in the box. Spanish legend Raul buried the penalty kick to equalize for his side.
Soon afterwards, RailHawks captain Daniel Scott earned himself a straight red card for a foul on Mkosana in the 66th minute.
Mkosana was involved again in the 85th minute, firing home the winning goal after Raul missed his second penalty five minutes earlier. Mkosana scored the go-ahead goal off of an assist from U.S. youth international Haji Wright.