Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Tampa Bay, Minnesota Face Must-Win Matches In Week 10

NEW YORK – The North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season is heading down the final stretch, and depending on a pair of Week 10 results, the league could have its newest Spring Season Champion as early as Saturday night.

While the league-leading New York Cosmos are off this weekend, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and/or Minnesota United FC must win in order to delay the Cosmos’ celebrations for at least one more week.

As part of a Saturday night slate that features four 7:30 p.m. ET kickoffs, United visits the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park, while the Rowdies host FC Edmonton at Al Lang Stadium.

The Atlanta Silverbacks and Fort Lauderdale Strikers also play at home on Saturday night, with Jacksonville Armada FC hosting the league’s lone Sunday match.

Here is a look at all of the Week 10 matchups:

Atlanta Silverbacks vs. San Antonio Scorpions
7: 30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Atlanta Silverbacks Park | Atlanta, Ga.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), KSAT 12.2 MeTV (Local – San Antonio)

The Scorpions (2W-2D-4L, 8 points) have had their fair share of success against the Silverbacks in recent meetings. In fact, the Scorpions have won four in a row against Atlanta and forward Cesar Elizondo has scored in the last two. Both sides currently sit on eight points, but have a chance to jump several spots in the standings with a win. Good results in the next few weeks could help generate important momentum going into Fall Season play.

The Silverbacks (1-5-2, 8) recorded their lone win in league play on April 18, and will need to find the back of the net more regularly if they are hoping to add to the win column. Although it came in a loss, scoring twice against FC Edmonton could be a foreshadowing of better things to come in front of goal.

Carolina RailHawks vs. Minnesota United
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
WakeMed Soccer Park | Cary, N.C.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), KSTC45-TV (Local – Minneapolis/St. Paul)

The RailHawks (3-4-2, 1) are brimming with confidence after going on the road two weekends in a row and securing wins both times. Carolina’s most recent triumph came in a convincing 4-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC. The midfield has been the RailHawks’ driving force in recent weeks, and they will need another big performance from that unit if they are to get a result against a solid Loons side.

Minnesota is coming off a draw that undoubtedly felt like a loss. As the team that controlled play for large stretches of the match against the first-place New York Cosmos, United (3-4-1, 13) looked destined for a win. That was until Spanish great Raúl netted a 90th-minute equalizer to rescue a point for New York. For the Loons, this Saturday’s clash can be filed under the “must-win” category if they have any hopes of catching the Cosmos in the Spring Season standings. To make things even more difficult this weekend, Minnesota will be without Miguel Ibarra, who is on international duty with the U.S. men’s national team.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Indy Eleven7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Lockhart Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.)

Fort Lauderdale ended their goalscoring drought when Stefano Pinho notched his first Strikers (2-2-4, 8) goal just before halftime in a 2014 NASL Championship Final rematch against the Scorpions last week. A draw on the road should be a confidence booster for a side that lost its last two league matches.

After starting the Spring Season with a four-match unbeaten streak, Indy Eleven (1-4-3, 9) has trended in a negative direction. With the club currently in last place, head coach Juergen Sommer and assistant coach Paul Telfer were relieved of their coaching duties earlier this week. Assistant Tim Regan has taken over as the club’s interim head coach, while midfielder Kleberson has taken on assistant coaching responsibilities while he recovers from an Achilles injury. Kyle Hyland’s first professional goal in the 98th minute against the Rowdies last week should have brought some positivity to the team, but the players will need to step it up to ensure they start the Regan Era off on the right foot.

Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, June 6
Al Lang Stadium | St. Petersburg, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), TSN Go (National – Canada), Great 38 (Local – Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg) 

Like United, the Rowdies (3-4-1, 13) are in a must-win situation to keep any shot at the Spring Season crown on the table, and the club will need to do so shorthanded. Maicon Santos, the club’s leading scorer, Georgi Hristov, the league leader in assists, and defensive stalwart Stefan Antonijevic will all miss out after picking up red cards against Indy. Richard Menjivar will also be unavailable as he is away on international duty with El Salvador. 

The Eddies (2-3-3, 9) are coming off a hard-fought draw with their Canadian rivals, Ottawa Fury FC. While it was the first time Edmonton didn’t score in a match, it was also their first clean sheet of the year. Goalkeeper John Smits has made a number of fantastic saves since returning to the starting lineup two weeks ago, and it’s likely that he will get the starting nod once again against the Rowdies. It will also mark the last match of the Spring Season for Lance Laing, who will join the Jamaican national team in Chile for Copa América.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. Ottawa Fury FC
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, June 7
Community First Park | Jacksonville, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), TSN Go (National – Canada), OttawaFuryFC.com (National – Canada/U.S.), CW17 (Local – Jacksonville), Rogers TV (Local – Ottawa)

It has been a rough few weeks for Armada FC, which lost its Spring Season Championship hopes after dropping its last two league matches. The expansion side, however, has a lot to be proud of in its inaugural campaign so far and will want to reverse the momentum in its final two matches. Sunday’s home match against Ottawa gives them a good place to start. Armada FC (3-1-4, 10) will be looking to erase its memory from last week’s 4-0 loss to the RailHawks. Jacksonville has been strong throughout the spring and the club will want to give its fans another thing to cheer about in its final home match before the Fall Season begins in July.

Ottawa (2-3-3, 9) is trending in the right direction as the Spring Season comes to a close. A win and a draw in its last two matches, by way of strong performances, will give Fury FC some confidence heading on the road. While dealing with some injury issues, Ottawa will still need to find someone to capitalize in front of goal. If they can do so, they will have a chance for another positive result, as the Armada FC have been no strangers to conceding multiple goals in a match. 
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