Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Miami FC Clinches Top Seed; Armada Alive for Post Season Bid

Miami FC and the San Francisco Deltas already clinched berths for the 2017 North American Soccer League (NASL) postseason, but now seeding is starting to take shape.

Miami, after a big win on the road over Indy Eleven on Saturday afternoon, will have the top seed in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, and will have home-field advantage throughout November.

San Francisco continued its push to claim the No. 2 seed – and a home game in the semifinals – with a comfortable win of its own on Saturday night over Puerto Rico FC. The Deltas are also in the hunt for silverware with the club sitting atop the Fall Season Standings.

Neither Jacksonville Armada FC and the New York Cosmos could better their position in the race to the postseason after both posting draws in Week 12.

Jacksonville played to a 1-1 draw with North Carolina FC in Friday night action as the Cosmos were held scoreless in a draw with FC Edmonton. New York is currently in fourth, while North Carolina sits in the third in the Combined Standings. Both spots in the table would earn a spot into The Championship.

Jacksonville Armada FC 1, North Carolina FC 1

Jacksonville Armada FC and North Carolina FC battled to a 1-1 draw on Friday night at Hodges Stadium.

Jacksonville was on the board first when Tony Taylor provided a superb cross that Zach Steinberger was able to knock home from close range. Steinberger’s seventh goal of the year came in the 21st minute.

North Carolina’s Renan Gorne, on loan from Brazilian side Botafogo, equaled the score later in the first half. After good play around Jacksonville’s box, Nazmi Albadawi found Gorne, who scored from in close in the 36th minute. It was the sixth goal of the year for the forward.

The first-half goals from each side stood up despite attacking several attacking opportunities in the second stanza, including substitute Billy Schuler sending a breakaway attempt just wide of the post.

Miami FC 3, Indy Eleven 0

Miami FC locked up the top seed in The Championship with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Indy Eleven at Carroll Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors led by three goals at halftime thanks to a pair of quick strikes from Stéfano Pinho and another from Dylan Mares.

Pinho, the league’s leading scorer, immediately put Miami ahead with a goal in the fourth minute. The Brazilian was on the receiving end of a brilliant lay-off from forward Jaime Chávez, and he did the rest with a well-placed shot past Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Pinho was on the scoresheet again in the 34th minute, tapping home another pass from Chávez to make it 2-0. The goal moved Pinho’s tally to 15 on the year.

Miami led by three just a few minutes later. Ghanaian international Kwadwo Poku found Mares just outside the box and the former Indy Eleven man did the rest from close range.

With a three-goal advantage, Miami cruised in the second half, controlling possession through the midfield and keeping Indy off the scoreboard. Irish forward Eamon Zayed had the best chance of the game for the Boys in Blue, but his low shot was somehow pushed wide by Miami goalkeeper Daniel Vega.

New York Cosmos 0, FC Edmonton 0

The New York Cosmos and FC Edmonton provided plenty of action, but both sides were unable to find the back of the net in a 0-0 draw at MCU Park on Saturday night.

The Cosmos had the better of the attacking options, but the home side was denied by FC Edmonton goalkeeper Tyson Farago time and again. The Canadian shot-stopper was at full extension to deny Emmanuel Ledesma’s free-kick attempt in the ninth minute of play. Just before the final whistle, the ‘keeper denied a close-range effort from substitute Ryan Richter to keep the contest scoreless.

The point keeps New York in a postseason position as the club is tied on points with Jacksonville Armada FC, but the Cosmos hold a better goal differential.

San Francisco Deltas 3, Puerto Rico FC 0

The San Francisco Deltas continue to roll along in the Fall Season with a convincing result at home on Saturday night. The club defeated Puerto Rico FC, 3-0, at Kezar Stadium.

The Deltas had a fast start and never looked back as Bryan Burke and Pablo Dyego led the way.

Burke scored from a header in the seventh minute when he connected with a corner kick from Dagoberto. He was left unmarked at the near post and made no mistake with the finish. Just before halftime, Burke had his second goal of the game when he ran onto a long ball by Michael Stephens before firing past Puerto Rico FC goalkeeper Austin Pack.

Just on the other side of the break, Dyego found pay dirt. His shot from just inside the 18-yard box found the back of the net.

With the win, the Deltas remained atop the Fall Season Standings as the club is fighting for a home game in The Championship Semifinals after locking up a postseason spot with a 2-1 midweek win over Indy Eleven.

 

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