Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: League Leaders Indy Eleven, FC Edmonton Host Big Week 7 Home Games

Photo by SE Sports Media

Indy Eleven and FC Edmonton are tied on points at the top of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season Standings, and the clubs’ home form is a major reason why. Both sides take long home winning streaks into Week 7 as the Eleven has won seven in a row, while the Eddies have won their previous eight. On Saturday, Indy hosts Rayo OKC, which ended the New York Cosmos’ record-setting winning streak a week ago. North of the border, FC Edmonton welcomes Minnesota United – the only team to beat the Eddies at home this year – to Clarke Field in the league’s lone Sunday affair.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Ottawa Fury FC will attempt to make it three wins in a row at TD Place, hosting Jacksonville Armada FC. The Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies renew their rivalry after a fiery 2-2 draw three weeks ago, while Miami FC hosts the South Florida Derby for the first time as the club hopes to continue its charge up the Fall Season Standings. Puerto Rico FC coach Adrian Whitbread leads his side against the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park. Whitbread has previously served as an assistant under RailHawks boss Colin Clarke, making Saturday’s clash a reunion of sorts.

Ottawa Fury FC vs. Jacksonville Armada FC
5 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 13

Ottawa, though, returns home to TD Place, where the club has won its last two games, 2-0. The defense has been much improved recently, allowing just two goals in the past five contests. Fury FC (3W-0D-4L, 9 points) will carry even more confidence into the weekend after defeating Jacksonville, 2-0, at Community First Park just two weeks ago. Carl Haworth and Tommy Stewart were on target in the win.

The Armada FC (1-1-5, 4) ended a five-game losing streak with a 2-2 draw last Saturday. Charles Eloundou scored his first two professional goals to help Jacksonville secure a point against the visiting Carolina RailHawks. The Florida side heads into the weekend under the guidance of Mark Lowry, who has taken over as interim head coach following the departure of Tony Meola, who was let go this past week. Lowry will make his NASL head coaching debut on Saturday.

New York Cosmos vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 13

The New York Cosmos’ record home winning streak came to an end at 10 on Saturday, but the club is still unbeaten in its last 11 regular-season games at Shuart Stadium. Adam Moffat scored from the penalty spot to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Rayo OKC. The Cosmos (4-2-2, 14) now complete their three-game homestand against long-time rival Tampa Bay Rowdies, who they defeated, 2-1, behind goals from Yasmani Duk and Ruben Bover in the last meeting at Shuart Stadium.

Tampa Bay (2-2-3, 8) enters the Saturday night affair with a possible psychological advantage on New York. The last time the teams met, the Rowdies overturned a two-goal deficit late to earn a 2-2 draw. In the Rowdies’ recent game, they beat their Florida rivals, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Joe Cole scored a goal and assisted on another in the 2-1 win. He now has four goals and four assists in 10 games with Tampa Bay in 2016.

Carolina RailHawks vs. Puerto Rico FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 13

The Carolina RailHawks return to WakeMed Soccer Park after a tough three-game road swing in which the club earned just one point. Carolina heads into Saturday’s game on the heels of a 2-2 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC. Matt Fondy scored his third goal of the year and Omar Bravo scored his second, and the last time the RailHawks (2-2-3, 8) were home, both players were on the scoresheet in a wild 3-3 draw against Miami FC.

Puerto Rico FC (1-3-4, 6) fell to a red-hot FC Edmonton side, 1-0, last weekend at home. The club, though, recently earned its first road point in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United. Héctor Ramos has scored five goals, but the rest of the team needs to find its attacking groove with only one goal scored by someone other than the Puerto Rican international. Tyler Rudy scored in a 2-2 draw with Rayo OKC earlier in the Fall Season.

Indy Eleven vs. Rayo OKC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 13

Indy Eleven has let very few points slip away at Carroll Stadium, entering Saturday’s clash on a seven-game winning streak and on a 12-game unbeaten run – 10 of the results have been wins. Last weekend, the Eleven (5-1-2, 16) continued to find late goals, a 10th in the final 15 minutes of games plus stoppage time, to earn a dramatic 1-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC. This time it was Jamaican midfielder Don Smart scoring the game-winner. Forward Eamon Zayed, especially at home, has been a constant threat. He is second in scoring with 11 goals and 10 of them have come at Carroll Stadium.

Indy defeated Rayo OKC, 2-1, at Miller Stadium in the Spring Season, but Rayo OKC (3-4-1, 13) has a recent history of ending streaks. The club earned a 1-1 draw in New York last Sunday to halt the Cosmos’ record-setting home winning streak at 10 games. Georgios Samaras scored Rayo OKC’s goal, his second of the year. The club carries a three-game unbeaten streak into Indy.

Miami FC vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
8 p.m. ET | Saturday, August 13

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Miami FC have played two games in their South Florida rivalry, and each contest has been eerily similar. Miami’s Dario Cvitanich has scored twice from the penalty spot, with the games ending 1-1 at Lockhart Stadium. Saturday’s contest in Miami will feature a pair of teams that are currently trending in different directions. Miami FC (3-2-1, 11) is unbeaten in its last four games – three of them wins – as the club has started its ascent up the Fall Season Standings. Alessandro Nesta’s side is coming off a 4-0 thrashing of Minnesota United – the side’s first road win. Kwadwo Poku has been one of the catalysts, scoring three goals in six games since joining the team ahead of the Fall Season.

The Strikers, on the other hand, have struggled in recent weeks. Fort Lauderdale (1-1-5, 4) has lost five of its last six games, picking up a 2-1 loss against the Tampa Bay Rowdies in its last contest. The club did receive a boost in the attacking third with former Juventus and Italian national team forward Amauri signing on Tuesday.

FC Edmonton vs. Minnesota United
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, August 14

FC Edmonton has lost one home game this season, and it was to the club’s opponent on Sunday: Minnesota United. Since that loss, though, the Eddies (5-1-1, 16) have won eight games in a row at Clarke Field and, after a 1-0 win over Puerto Rico FC on the road, has kept pace at the top of the Fall Season Standings and are tied with Indy Eleven with 16 points. Forward Tomi Ameobi has formed a strong partnership with Dustin Corea as FC Edmonton’s last four goals have come after the pair have linked up at some point in the attacking move. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel has continued to put in Man of the Match-worthy performances. The veteran shot-stopper is second in the league in saves (57), first in the league with shutouts (8), and first in goals against average (0.59).

Minnesota United is coming off a tough 4-0 loss at home to Miami FC and is winless in its last three games. Minnesota (3-2-2, 11) has shown a knack for ending streaks in the past and, in fact, stopped Indy Eleven’s unbeaten run at 13 games earlier in the Fall Season. The Loons will hope to get back on track in Edmonton where they picked up a 2-0 win with a pair of goals from Ben Speas in the Spring Season.

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