Four sellout crowds watched an explosive second week of North American Soccer League Spring Season action as Minnesota United grabbed a last second winner, Carolina RailHawks fired four goals and the New York Cosmos held on to top spot in the early standings.
Indy Eleven’s soccer faithful again flocked to Michael A. Carroll Stadium where their side played at home for the second straight week and sold out again with an attendance of 10,421. Ottawa Fury FC made an historic home debut in front of a sellout crowd of 3,457 at Carleton University where the expansion club will play until their permanent TD Place home is available for the Fall Season. FC Edmonton sold out with a club-record 4,399 attendance at Clarke Stadium for the visit of the New York Cosmos, while the Atlanta Silverbacks sold all 5,000 tickets available for their home opener.
Minnesota United and the New York Cosmos have the only one hundred percent records in the NASL after two weeks of play.
Striker Christian Ramirez again grabbed the headlines for Minnesota United with the game-winning goal, as six minutes of time added on ticked down and he headed home with virtually the last touch of the match.
“We were prepared for a tough game,” said United FC coach Manny Lagos. “We knew we were going to be the villains, so to speak, but we were also excited to be a part of history. It's pretty cool to be part of a franchise's first game in the league. We were certainly challenged today on the soccer side.”
Fury FC coach Marc Dos Santos thought his side had secured a share of the points until Ramirez struck at the death. “We reacted well in the second half and we created chances and we scored,” he said. “We deserved better. We knew what we wanted from the game and tied it with merit but it breaks your heart to lose the game like this.”
The New York Cosmos remain on top of the standings on goal difference in defense of their NASL title after an opportunist close range back heel from Sebastian Guenzatti proved the difference against a determined FC Edmonton. The Cosmos have now gone 13 consecutive games unbeaten in the modern era of the NASL.
“I’m very proud of our players,” said Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese. “We knew it was going to be a battle and we were able to fight for every ball and win those battles. “
The Carolina RailHawks have opened up a 17-game unbeaten streak at WakeMed Soccer Park where double strikes from Zack Schilawski and Enzo Martinez earned a 4-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Trailing 2-0 at halftime, the visitors appeared to have fought their way back when Chris Nurse scored shortly after the interval, but then the hosts ran away with the game.
“We showed great character and had control of the game for 90 minutes and got what we deserved,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “We know we had to get a lot of victory and there was a lot of pressure. It took some time to get into the flow, but we continued to pass and move.”
The Tampa Bay Rowdies again conceded a late goal to draw 1-1 for the second week in a row. Three minutes after halftime, the 2013 NASL Golden Boot winner Brian Shriver opened his account for the Rowdies having joined the club in the summer. But nine minutes from time the Rowdies, who conceded with two minutes remaining last week, allowed Eric Norales to equalize for Indy Eleven, to the delight of the home crowd of 10,421.
“We're grateful when we put points on the board,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “Is it two points dropped? It feels like it most definitely is. We have to be a little more ruthless when we're dominating games.”
The San Antonio Scorpions rebounded from last week’s home loss to edge the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1. Greg Janicki and Shaun Saiko earned the visitors a 2-0 lead and after Junior Sandoval pulled one back for the hosts, Atlanta should have leveled but were unable to turn chances into goals.
“Obviously it is great feeling to get this result,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina, on the team’s first win of the 2014 NASL Spring Season. “I felt our guys played well and the guys should put some more away but all credit to them and they played the full 90 minutes and got the result.”
North American Soccer League 2014 Spring Season Week 2 Results
Saturday, April 19
Ottawa Fury FC 1 Minnesota United FC 2
Atlanta Silverbacks 1 San Antonio Scorpions 2
Carolina RailHawks 4 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1
Indy Eleven 1 Tampa Bay Rowdies 1
FC Edmonton 0 New York Cosmos 1