Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: First-Place Ottawa Keeps Unbeaten Streak Alive; Armada Falls in Tampa

NEW YORK  -First-place Ottawa Fury FC extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games on a Saturday night that saw 24 goals scored across five North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season encounters.

Andrew Wiedeman scored goals in the 54th and 64th minutes as Ottawa defeated Indy Eleven, 4-1, before a crowd of 9,866 at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis. Over the 12-game unbeaten streak, Ottawa has allowed only six goals and has recorded seven shutouts.

While Ottawa seemed in control in Indianapolis, other games around the NASL were the scene of breathtaking goalscoring outbursts that dramatically changed the complexion of several games.

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers built a three-goal lead on the strength of a pair of goals from Walter Ramirez, but then saw the perhaps aptly named Cardiac Cosmos rally to tie the game when Sebastián Guenzatti scored in second-half injury time. After failing to win in their first three games of the Fall Season, the Cosmos have picked up seven points in their last three.

It was a seesaw battle in Atlanta, with the Silverbacks and the San Antonio Scorpions trading goals throughout. Omar Cummings, San Antonio’s veteran striker from Jamaica, increased his leading-league goal tally to 10 when he scored twice in a 3-3 draw.

Tampa Bay, too, built a three-goal lead, but managed to hold off Jacksonville, which received two second-half goals from Alhassane Keita. The Armada FC, however, still fell one goal short in the Coastal Cup clash.

And finally, Christian Ramirez scored for the sixth game running, but Minnesota United FC had to settle for a point against visiting FC Edmonton. Tomi Ameobi scored his sixth goal of the season to tie the game for the Eddies in the second half.

Tampa Bay Rowdies 3, Jacksonville Armada FC 2

The Rowdies (2-1-3, 7) jumped in front in the seventh minute when Martin Nuñéz led Maicon Santos into the Jacksonville penalty area. Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo got an arm on the Brazilian’s left-footed shot, but could not keep it from bounding across the goal line. Santos doubled his goal total on the night and doubled the Tampa Bay lead when he scored again in the 32nd minute following an error by Gallardo. Just when it looked like the Rowdies would run away with the game after Brian Shriver’s goal in the 50th minute, Alhassane Keita converted from the penalty spot to put Jacksonville back in the match in the 54th minute. It was Keita again for Jacksonville (1-1-4, 4) in the 67th minute, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3, New York Cosmos 3

The classic NASL rivalry that dates to 1977 has been dominated by the Cosmos, even in the Modern Era. That dominance nearly ended Saturday night before 5,667 at Lockhart Stadium, but the Strikers (1W-4-D-2L, 7 points) squandered a three-goal lead, and settled for a draw. Fort Lauderdale still has not defeated New York in the league’s Modern Era. The Strikers took advantage of Walter Restrepo’s foul in the penalty area as Gabriel scored from the spot – the first goal of his NASL career. 

Fort Lauderdale was the beneficiary of another foul in the area by the Cosmos (2-3-1, 9) and Walter Ramírez converted the penalty kick in the 48th minute. Ramírez scored again in the 59th minute after a brilliant solo run of more than 40 yards in which he eluded a defender and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer before sliding the ball into the net. The Cosmos refused to pack it in, though. Adam Moffat replaced Haji Wright, who was making his first team starting debut, and scored four minutes after Leo Fernandes as the Cosmos chopped into the Strikers’ three-goal lead. That lead evaporated in added time when Sebastián Guenzatti turned on a ball six yards from goal and tied the score.

Atlanta Silverbacks 3, San Antonio Scorpions 3

Atlanta’s Pedro Mendes picked up where he left off on Wednesday – when he scored twice – to fire the Silverbacks into the lead in the 23rd minute. It was his fifth goal in the last six games. Two minutes later, Omar Cummings scored his league-leading ninth goal of the season to tie the game. The Scorpions (1-2-3, 5) lost Honduran international Martin Chávez to a hamstring injury; he was replaced by César Elizondo to start the second half. Atlanta (4-2-2, 14) regained the lead in the 51st minute when Junior Burgos hit a swerving free kick from 30 yards that went up and over the defensive wall and dipped beautifully inside the near post. 

The Silverbacks grabbed a two-goal lead with Kosuke Kimura leading an attack up the right side before crossing to Jaime Chavez for the goal. Billy Forbes scored for San Antonio in the 60th minute to cut Atlanta’s lead once again, and then Cummings scored his 10th of the year with a perfectly placed shot into the upper corner in the 70th minute. The draw ended Atlanta’s three-game winning streak, while the Scorpions have not won a game in their last five.

Ottawa Fury FC 4, Indy Eleven 1

Sinisa Ubiparipovic gave first-place Ottawa Fury FC a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute, knocking home a pass from Tom Heinemann at Carroll Stadium in Indianapolis. Ottawa built a two-goal lead in the second half on goals by Andrew Wiedeman and Mauro Eustaquio, which were sandwiched around Duke Lacroix’s tally for Indy Eleven. Wiedeman scored his second of the game, in the 64th minute, to ensure that Ottawa Fury FC (6-1-0 19) extended his 12-game unbeaten streak and kept its hold on first place in the Fall Season Standings and regained its spot atop the Combined Standings. The loss was the fourth straight for Indy Eleven (1-2-4, 5), which is now winless in six games.

Minnesota United FC 1, FC Edmonton 1

Christian Ramirez upped his goalscoring streak to six straight games when he converted a penalty kick in the 47th minute to give Minnesota (2-3-2, 9) the lead before 9,077 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. For FC Edmonton (3-3-2, 12), Tomi Ameobi tied the game in the 70th minute after Lance Laing picked up a loose ball, carried it for 20 yards and sent in a perfectly weighted cross that Ameobi tapped past Loons goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt.

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