What has been a progressive NASL season will continue this weekend, with the best teams looking to extend their lead atop the table.
The New York Cosmos travel to FC Edmonton, facing off against a team that will have a chip on its shoulder. After a recent surge of league results, the Eddies were crushed by the Ottawa Fury in a Canadian Championship game midweek.
Minnesota United will face a Jacksonville Armada side that will reportedly be without captain Richie Ryan, as reports recently surfaced of the midfielder being traded to Miami FC. With Meola’s side possibly losing their captain, Christian Ramirez and company could be looking at an easy win at home.
Elsewhere, Indy Eleven travel to south Florida looking to continue their undefeated start to the season. Before last week, this would have seemed a simple task, but the Fort Lauderdale Strikers are looking tougher after surprisingly taking down the Carolina RailHawks last time out.
Here’s a closer look at the action in NASL this weekend:
FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS VS. INDY ELEVEN (SATURDAY, 7 P.M., ESPN3)
Getting a result in Fort Lauderdale would’ve seemed like a simpler task just last week for Indy Eleven, but a recent big win for the home side has changed that.
The Strikers benefited from an early attacking burst in Carolina last time out, scoring three first-half goals to shock the RailHawks. League veteran Maicon Santos could pop up with another big goal, boosted by fine attacking play from the young Brazilian talent around him.
Indy can continue to impress after their team’s reformation this off-season, now looking to extend their five-game undefeated streak. Watch out for fine attacking play from playmaker Sinisa Ubiparipovic and late game heroics from Eamon Zayed, who has shined for the Eleven this season.
CAROLINA RAILHAWKS VS. MIAMI FC (SATURDAY, 7:30 P.M., ONE World Sports)
The RailHawks will host yet another side from south Florida this weekend, but will hope for a much different result.
Brian Shriver did tally a goal in last week’s 3-1 loss, but the home team will rely on Austin Da Luz, Tiyi Shipalane, and Nazmi Albadawi to shine and rebound this time out.
Miami FC has continuously proven to be incompetent against this league’s top competition, and will face a stern test against the creative attack of the RailHawks on Saturday. If Richie Ryan isn’t in the starting XI for the side, it’ll be up to some Dario Cvitanich magic to once again rescue a result.
TAMPA BAY ROWDIES VS. RAYO OKC (SATURDAY, 7:30 P.M., ESPN3)
The Tampa Bay Rowdies have made another sizable investment in their squad by adding Joe Cole this week, meaning there’s more pressure than ever for Stuart Campbell’s side to step up their game.
The Rowdies haven’t necessarily played poorly this year, but the expectations are very high with the new additions to the team. After getting a monkey off their back with a win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers last time out, the Rowdies face a Rayo OKC expansion side that has so far impressed with their play.
Rayo continues to pick up decent results, with key performances coming from seasoned veterans Robbie Findley, Michel, and Derek Boateng. This matchup could be easily decided by whichever striker finishes their chances.
MINNESOTA UNITED VS. JACKSONVILLE ARMADA (SATURDAY, 8 P.M., beIN Sports)
Minnesota United will be raring to go after a disappointing late goal lost them two points last weekend in Ottawa.
The MLS-elect side is competing with the Cosmos and RailHawks for the Spring Season championship, but must register a win over the Armada to keep pace. Christian Ramirez is looking like one of the best attackers in the league at this point, with experienced midfielder Jeb Brovsky and a red-hot Ben Speas getting him the ball in position to score.
Tony Meola’s Armada team has been slow to round into form, and may be losing a vital piece if the Richie Ryan trade reports is true. Expect the home team to come ready to play and take home three points on Saturday, unless Jacksonville can finally turn their consistent possession dominance into goals.
FC EDMONTON VS. NEW YORK COSMOS (SUNDAY, 4 P.M., ONE World Sports)
After a midweek loss against bitter Canadian rivals the Ottawa Fury, the Eddies may have a fire burning within that will propel them against last year’s champions.
The speed and clinical finishing of FC Edmonton have earned the side four points in their last two league games, but neither of those opponents have been at the level that the Cosmos play at. Nik Ledgerwood, Daryl Fordyce and company must be up for the task.
The Cosmos have performed well recently, surging to the top of the table after adjusting to a few new faces in the starting eleven. Gio Savarese’s men have continuously shown dominance by winning games by multiple goals, with strikes Juan Arango and Jairo Arrieta putting on a display of clinical finishing this season.