Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Top Four Clubs In Combined Standings Claim Shutout Wins On Sunday

NEW YORK – With The Championship just over a month away, the North American Soccer League (NASL) postseason race is beginning to take shape. The top four clubs in the league’s Combined Standings – Miami FC, San Francisco Deltas, North Carolina FC, and New York Cosmos – all picked up wins on Sunday, creating some separation in the race to The Championship.

North Carolina FC stayed hot, thrashing visiting Indy Eleven at Sahlen’s Stadium, while the San Francisco Deltas continued their steady form with a hard-fought road win over FC Edmonton.

Puerto Rico FC made its emotional return to the field in the wake of Hurricane Maria, but came up just short against the New York Cosmos in Brooklyn. Miami FC wrapped up the full Sunday slate with a narrow victory over visiting Jacksonville Armada FC.

Miami FC 1, Jacksonville Armada FC 0

Miami FC continued its dominant play with another victory over Jacksonville Armada FC at Riccardo Silva Stadium on Sunday night.

Stéfano Pinho finished off a pass from Jaime Chávez in the first half, giving league-leading Miami FC all that it needed against visiting Jacksonville.

Miami hit the post twice in the opening stanza, including a bending free kick from Richie Ryan that hugged the goal line after it ricocheted off the woodwork. Eventually, the hosts made the breakthrough thanks to Pinho. Chávez lofted a pass over the top of the Armada FC defense and Pinho was there on the doorstep to head the ball home.

Despite some late pressure from Jacksonville, the vast majority of scoring chances came from Miami. Chávez had an opportunity to double the Spring Season Champions’ lead late in the game, but his chip over the head of Armada FC goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell bounced wide.

North Carolina FC 5, Indy Eleven 0

North Carolina FC solidified its place in the postseason race with a comfortable 5-0 win over Indy Eleven at Sahlen’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Brazilian forward Renan Gorne remained in scorching form, scoring two goals and assisting on another in a game that saw North Carolina score four times in the first half alone.

Gorne, on loan from Botafogo, opened the scoring in the 9th minute. Kareem Moses sent in a cross from the right side and Gorne cleverly chested the ball past Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch to make it 1-0.

Nazmi Albadawi was next to get on the scoresheet after finishing off a phenomenal individual run in the 32nd minute. Gorne was again involved in the 35th minute, playing provider on Steven Miller’s tap-in from close range.

Just before halftime, Gorne was able to get his second goal. Nazmi Albadawi was hauled down in the penalty area by Indy’s Craig Henderson, paving the way for Gorne to blast home a penalty kick that gave the hosts a 4-0 lead.

With the game never in doubt, Dre Fortune put the cherry on top of North Carolina’s victory. In the 90th minute, the 21-year-old midfielder curled home an excellent free kick to give the home fans a fifth goal to cheer about.

FC Edmonton 0, San Francisco Deltas 1

The San Francisco Deltas turned in yet another solid performance away from home and left FC Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium with a 1-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Dutch defender Kenny Teijsse scored the winner for the Deltas, who are firmly in second place in the Combined Standings with a few games in hand.

The Deltas probably thought it wasn’t going to be their day when they were twice denied by the crossbar in the opening 10 minutes. First, Reiner Ferreira’s long-range free kick slammed the crossbar, and then five minutes later, Pablo Dyego’s bicycle kick suffered the same fate.

The blustery weather conditions made free kicks hard to deal with for the two goalkeepers, and FC Edmonton’s Daryl Fordyce nearly gave the hosts the lead in the 65th minute with a free kick that stung the palms of Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.

San Francisco finally broke the deadlock in the 78th minute when Teijsse headed home a corner kick from Canadian international Kyle Bekker. The Deltas would go on to fight off some late pressure from the Eddies to clinch all three points.

New York Cosmos 1, Puerto Rico FC 0

On a night in which the New York Cosmos were donating half of their ticket proceeds to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, the defending champions fought off Puerto Rico FC, 1-0, at MCU Park.

Spanish veteran Javi Marquez scored midway through the second half to give the Cosmos a much-needed home win.

In the 47th minute, the Cosmos thought they had taken the lead when U.S. youth international Eric Calvillo saw his header cleared off the line by visiting Puerto Rico. Andres Flores’ initial shot was saved by Puerto Rico goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg and Calvillo’s follow-up header was centimeters away from crossing the line.

After Juan Guerra went close in the 66th minute, New York finally found the back of the net seven minutes later. Lucky Mkosana won the ball in the midfield and started a wonderful combination play that involved Calvillo, Pablo Vranjican, and Flores. The ball ended up with Marquez, who blasted a left-footed shot low into the net.

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