Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: North Carolina, New York Could Clinch Final Postseason Berths This Week

The North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Season heads into its penultimate weekend with two places in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament, still up for grabs.

Midweek action put the postseason picture in closer focus, but there’s still plenty to play for over the weekend. The New York Cosmos earned a key 4-1 win over Puerto Rico FC, while Jacksonville Armada FC failed to pick up the three points it needed in a 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton. Miami FC and the San Francisco Deltas played to a 2-2 draw on Wednesday as well.

Miami and San Francisco have already earned places in the postseason. Miami visits FC Edmonton knowing that it has already locked up the top seed in The Championship. The Deltas, who travel to face North Carolina FC, can wrap up the No. 2 seed with at least a point this weekend. Both of those games will kick off on Saturday night.

Battling for the last two berths are North Carolina, New York, and Jacksonville. New York and Jacksonville play each other at Hodges Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a crucial contest that could potentially seal either team’s fate in postseason qualification.

In the other matchup over the weekend, Indy Eleven hosts Puerto Rico FC on Saturday afternoon.

Continue below for a preview on each matchup:

Indy Eleven vs. Puerto Rico FC
3 p.m. ET | Saturday, October 21
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada; Globally except U.S.)

Indy Eleven won’t be returning to the postseason after reaching The Championship Final last year, but the club will look to finish strong. Indy is winless in its last three games, but did find its last victory against its next opponent, Puerto Rico FC. In that game, Eamon Zayed scored a pair of goals. Most recently, the Boys in Blue were held scoreless in a 3-0 loss to Miami FC.

Puerto Rico is also looking to get back in the win column, entering the game with a loss in each of its last five contests. While the club fell, 4-1, to the New York Cosmos on Wednesday, one positive was a goal from young Puerto Rican international Jorge Rivera.

North Carolina FC vs. San Francisco Deltas
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, October 21
Sahlen’s Stadium | Cary, N.C.
Watch | beIN SPORTS En Español (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada), WRAL2 (Local – Cary/Raleigh)

North Carolina FC can clinch a spot in The Championship this weekend and a win is the simplest scenario to do so. A win could also keep the club in the running for the Fall Season title should Miami FC not get a win of its own on Saturday. North Carolina enters the weekend unbeaten in its last five games. Most recently, the club played to a 1-1 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC. Brazilian Renan Gorne, who has scored six times in the Fall Season, was on target for the club.

The San Francisco Deltas have been the hottest team in the NASL, carrying a nine-game unbeaten streak into their weekend clash at Sahlen’s Stadium. The club can clinch the No. 2 seed with a draw, but a win would move the side closer to earning the Fall Season title. Forward Tom Heinemann and midfielder Dagoberto have been leading the way of late. Heinemann has scored three goals with one assist in the past four games, while Dagoberto has found the back of the net twice with two assists during that same stretch. San Francisco is coming off a 2-2 draw with Miami FC, and it was both Heinemann and Dagoberto putting their names on the scoresheet.

FC Edmonton vs. Miami FC
9 p.m. ET | Saturday, October 21
Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), Facebook Live (National – Canada), CW South Florida (Local – Miami)

FC Edmonton played the role of spoiler during a midweek game with Jacksonville Armada FC and will aim to do so again on Saturday. While the club cannot keep Miami FC out of the postseason, it can dampen the club’s chances at lifting the Fall Season Trophy. Jake Keegan scored in the recent draw with Jacksonville.

Miami is looking to finish strong and build momentum heading into The Championship, as well as become the first team to win both halves under the split-season format. The club has yet to drop points against the Eddies with five victories and zero goals conceded in that span. Stéfano Pinho increased his league-leading goal tally to 16 when he found the back of the net in the 2-2 midweek draw with the San Francisco Deltas. Blake Smith also scored in the club’s last contest.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. New York Cosmos
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, October 22
Hodges Stadium | Jacksonville, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3* (National – U.S.), NASL.com (National – Canada), CW (Local – Jacksonville/Orlando), Great 38 (Local – Tampa Bay), MSG Networks (Regional – NY/NJ/CT/PA), MSG GO (Regional – NY/NJ/CT/PA)

Jacksonville Armada FC’s window to clinch a postseason berth is closing, but a win on Sunday would keep the club in the hunt heading into the final weekend of the Fall Season. Jacksonville currently trails the New York Cosmos by two points and third-place North Carolina FC by four points. Jacksonville grabbed a lead on Wednesday night on a goal by Jack Blake, but the club was unable to hold onto its advantage in the 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton.

The Cosmos moved closer to a postseason return with a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico FC on Wednesday. Ayoze led the way with a pair of goals in the win, while Eugene Starikov contributed a goal and an assist. Bledi Bardic was also on target. A win in Jacksonville would clinch a postseason berth for the club. New York enters the contest with a four-game unbeaten streak.

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