Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Miami One of Four Clubs to Begin Quest For Soccer Bowl Trophy

Photo Courtesy of NASL

NEW YORK – North American Soccer League (NASL) action will resume on Sunday night with a pair of exciting semifinal tilts that will be nationally-televised on beIN SPORTS.

Miami FC heads into the The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, as the top seed after winning both the Spring and Fall Season titles. The club faces a stiff test when the defending NASL Champions, the New York Cosmos, visit Riccardo Silva Stadium at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.

As the No. 2 seed, the San Francisco Deltas will host the other semifinal game following a strong season under the guidance of Marc Dos Santos. The Canadian coach is looking to return to The Championship Final after doing so in 2015. The club will face off with North Carolina FC at Kezar Stadium at 8 p.m. ET.

Both semifinal games can be seen live exclusively on beIN SPORTS USA (English), beIN SPORTS en Español (Spanish), and beIN SPORTS CONNECT (Digital).

Here is a preview of each matchup in The Championship Semifinals:

Miami FC (No. 1) vs. New York Cosmos (No. 4)
5 p.m. ET | Sunday, November 5
Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.
Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS en Español (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada)

Miami had a blistering attack during the 2017 campaign, scoring a league-high 61 goals. The club is led by Stéfano Pinho, who led the league in goals with 17 during the year. The Brazilian brings some key momentum into the postseason having scored five times in the final month of the Fall Season.

Jaime Chávez, who carried the goalscoring load for Miami earlier in the Fall Season, finished the last month with four assists after linking up very well with Pinho during that stretch. The Orange and Blue are already the first NASL side to win both the Spring and the Fall Season, and now the club aims to complete an impressive treble.

The Cosmos had to wait until the final weekend of the Fall Season to clinch a postseason berth, but the club did so in spectacular fashion. Argentine star Emmanuel Ledesma scored a hat trick and chipped in with an assist in a 5-2 win over Puerto Rico FC.

Ledesma has been a key player throughout the year, finishing with 10 goals and six assists, while also leading the NASL in chances created with 73. New York has won the previous two NASL titles and three out of the last four overall.

Miami and New York have matched up very evenly over the course of the year. In five meetings, the clubs each posted a record of 2W-1D-2L against each other. The last meeting between the two sides took place in Miami and ended in a 3-3 draw. Chávez fired home a hat trick in that clash.

San Francisco Deltas (No. 2) vs. North Carolina FC (No. 3)
8 p.m. ET | Sunday, November 8
Kezar Stadium | San Francisco, Calif.
Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS en Español (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada)

The San Francisco Deltas have been an incredibly consistent side this year, especially considering it is the club’s first season. Much of that success is due to their coach, Marc Dos Santos, who is looking to reach his third straight final at the helm of a professional side.

Tommy Heinemann led San Francisco’s attack with nine goals, but a trio of Brazilians also made key impacts along the way. Pablo Dyego, who has developed into one of the most exciting young players in the league, finished up with six goals in the regular season. Veteran midfielder Dagoberto has come up with some key performances after making his debut in the Fall Season, including scoring the goal that ultimately led to the club locking up the No. 2 seed in the postseason. At the other end of the field, Reiner Ferreira has been the leader of the back line.

North Carolina FC has made its way back into the postseason for the first time since 2012. The club’s captain, Nazmi Albadawi, has led by example with four goals and four assists during the year. Up front, Renan Gorne (six goals) and Billy Schuler (five goals) have both provided special moments throughout the year. Lance Laing, who enters the postseason as the club’s leading scorer with eight goals, saw limited action in the Fall Season but will look to showcase his best form once again in November.

Heading into the semifinal matchup, San Francisco has gotten the better of North Carolina. The Deltas have a record of 2W-2D-0L against their postseason opponent. The last two meetings, however, have ended in 1-1 draws.

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