Top Stories

NASL Week 15: A Look Ahead

Photo by Ottawa Fury FC/ NASL

Photo by Ottawa Fury FC/NASL


NASL’s Canadian sides face off this weekend, with one battling to stay atop the table and the other fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Ottawa Fury still hold first place in the combined standings, but both the New York Cosmos and Minnesota United are just two points behind. In similar fashion fourth-place FC Edmonton is level on points with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are just three points behind with a game in hand.

Freddy Adu, who earned his first assist and start midweek, and the Rowdies will travel to Minnesota United to face the hottest team in the league on Saturday. The central Florida side is in need of a result to keep pace in the playoff battle, but United will certainly be looking to take three points at home and contend for a higher seed.

The Strikers will be needing a win on the road against the lowly San Antonio Scorpions, while the Cosmos can compete for first place by beating the Atlanta Silverbacks at home.

Elsewhere, Indy Eleven travels to the Jacksonville Armada in a bottom-of-the-table clash with nothing but pride on the line.

Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s matches:

JACKSONVILLE ARMADA vs. INDY ELEVEN (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., WatchESPN)

The teams that hold the last two spots in the league kick off the weekend’s action in Jacksonville on Saturday, with the Indy Eleven traveling to the Armada.

On Wednesday, the Eleven managed a 1-1 home draw against the Rowdies, thanks to a quick equalizer from Jaime Frias. Prior to that match, the Eleven had lost four out of five games and only scored once.

The Armada showcased the parity of the league last weekend, pulling off a 2-0 victory over their Florida rivals in the Tampa Bay Rowdies at home. If the Armada are to pull off to straight wins, look for an impact from Alhassane Keita and Jaime Castrillon.


In Minnesota on Saturday evening, two teams will be fighting for two not-so-different goals.

The home team, United, will look for three points and a chance to usurp the Fury as the top-seeded team heading into the playoffs. After a scoreless draw against the Cosmos at home two weeks back, Minnesota came out for blood against the Strikers last weekend, putting up an impressive 5-2 victory.

The victory was truly an exposition of fluid attacking play. Midfielder Ibson showcased his talents with a brace and an assist, Christian Ramirez got one goal and two assists and Daniel Mendes recorded a goal and an assist as well.

The Rowdies are in need of a result to regain their position as the fourth and final playoff participant.

Head coach Stuart Campbell will hope to string together two results for the first time since August, with his side coming into the match with a roller-coaster form in their last five.

Adu made his first start for the club in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in Indy, with the journeyman midfielder assisting Long Tan’s strike from a corner kick. Look for Adu to arrive in Minnesota with a point to prove.


While the San Antonio Scorpions would have a large mountain to climb to get into playoff contention, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers have been given a perfect opportunity to make up ground this weekend.

The Scorpions may have a poor defensive record, but the team still has attacking weapons that can pop up and punish opponents at any time. Look for Marvin Chavez and Cesar Elizondo to do just that, with Omar Cummings also likely to make an impact.

With the Rowdies only managing a point midweek and facing a tough test on the road to United this weekend, the Strikers have a chance to leapfrog Tampa Bay into fifth in the combined standings.

The Strikers will rely on a resurgent performance, having lost their last two matches in disappointing fashion. If Jose Angulo can build on his brace from last week and Stefano Pinho can regain his spectacular form, then the team should easily take three points from Texas.

OTTAWA FURY vs. FC EDMONTON (Sunday, 3 p.m., WatchESPN)

The biggest match of the weekend features to the two Canadian sides that have taken NASL by storm this year. The Fury need a win to fight off contenders for the top playoff seed, whereas FC Edmonton needs all three points on the road to stay in the fourth spot.

The sides are extremely evenly matched in recent results, with each recording a draw followed by three straight wins coming into Saturday’s game.

Marc Dos Santos’ men are thriving under the play of Tom Heinemann and Paulo Junior, who each have three goals in their last two matches. The Fury have also benefited from a stout defense, only conceding four goals in their past seven games.

The Eddies have sprung to life as of late, though, thanks to the attacking partnership of speedster Lance Laing and clinical finisher Daryl Fordyce.


The New York Cosmos are on a three-match winless streak coming into Sunday’s home game against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Silverbacks head coach Gary Smith will have his men up for the task of extending that streak to four.

With a win, the Silverbacks can keep pace with the teams above them and remain in the postseason conversation. If the team is to do so, it will be on the backs of Pedro Mendes and Junior Burgos, who have carried the attacking load for the side as of late.

Gio Savarese needs to get his team in the right mindset, with only five matches remaining until the playoffs.

The Cosmos certainly have the most talented roster in the league, but the team has not been getting it done this fall. An attacking renaissance led by the Spanish duo of Raul and Marcos Senna is needed, and Lucky Mkosana and Leo Fernandes must regain their mid-season form for this team to have a shot at the Soccer Bowl.


Leave a Comment