Following its midweek victory at home, San Antonio Scorpions, look to keep their success rolling as they take to the road aiming to remain in sole possession of first-place in the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall Standings as they visit fellow unbeaten side Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on the NASL’s ‘Match of the Week’ live on ESPN3 at 7:30 pm ET on Saturday (July 26).
Soccer fans can also tune in to www.NASLlive.com to watch all five matches this weekend in Atlanta, Carolina, Edmonton, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa Bay.
NASL leader San Antonio is coming off a 2-0 victory against visiting Carolina RailHawks this past Wednesday and are currently riding an eight-game unbeaten streak and a perfect 5-0-0 mark on the road this year.
"As I always say, we want to win every game,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina. “We are not content with a loss, or even a tie. There are still a lot of games to play, so a lot of things can happen in the standings. So obviously it is good that you start to separate yourself."
Tampa Bay is coming off its second consecutive win of the season last week after topping host Indy Eleven 2-1. Rowdies have a slight edge in the series against San Antonio, having taken the last three meetings against Scorpions including the most recent this past Spring, 1-0 in San Antonio.
Rowdies coach Ricky Hill commented on the upcoming encounter against Scorpions. “The Scorpions have been consistent. Alen Marcina has done great with them. He's done extremely well with the group that he has there in building consistency. We expect them to be a force offensively, but on the flip side, we're in a reasonable vein of form right now. Our confidence is high and we're looking to extend our little unbeaten run.”
The Fall Week 3 action continues on Saturday, when NASL Spring Champion Minnesota United FC looks keep pace with San Antonio and continue its own unbeaten streak – currently six NASL games – when it visits Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park at 7:30 pm ET.
“The games are going to be tough for us because all our opponents know they are going to be up against the Spring Champions,” said United coach Manny Lagos. “There is a lot for us to be wary of, but at the same time I think we should be going in with some confidence belief about what we have been doing as a team this entire season. We need to make sure we bring that to the field on Saturday in Atlanta.”
United, who’s currently second in 2014 Fall Standings, leads the head-to-head series against the Silverbacks, however Atlanta has won three out of the last four meetings.
Silverbacks coach Jason Smith, who’s taken over the helm of club, commented on his first NASL match of Fall Season: “It’s always a difficult transition at this time of the year, but the boys look really good. We’re just going to have to see if we can tweak a few things and make everyone a little bit sharper. I think the team morale is high so far, and there are a lot of things we can do in a short period of time to improve our overall performance.”
The RailHawks, who lost 2-0 to Scorpions in midweek action, return home to welcome Ottawa Fury FC at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday at 7:30 pm ET.
Fury FC, who will also be playing its second game in four days after dropping a 1-0 international friendly against Rangers FC this past Wednesday, won the only meeting against RailHawks this past Spring, 4-0.
“Carolina is one of the best teams in the league playing at home,” Fury FC coach Marc Dos Santos. “We will need a strong performance and must finish our opportunities to get out of Carolina with the points we need to stay close with the top four.”
Closing out Saturday’s encounters is a rivalry born almost four decades ago, rebooted last year and thriving in 2014, when the defending NASL Soccer Bowl champion New York Cosmos travel to take on Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30 pm ET.
The clubs met three times since 2013 with the Cosmos winning all matches, including the last encounter at Lockhart Stadium when the visitors posted a 3-0 victory this past Spring.
Cosmos are coming off a 1-0 win over host Ottawa Fury FC last week, while the Strikers dropped their second consecutive match in a 2-0 decision to hosts Scorpions.
“We need to get three points at home this weekend,” said Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner. “The Cosmos are a great team especially defensively, so we need to play without making any mistakes. We've had plenty of opportunity these last two games, we just need to finish, and perhaps get a little bit of luck.”
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese noted on the upcoming encounter against Strikers: “This week we are going on the road once again to play a Fort Lauderdale team that will be very hungry for a win in front of their home fans. We are expecting a challenging match.”
The 2014 Fall Season Week 3 concludes on Sunday, July 27, when FC Edmonton looks for its first win of the Season as it hosts Indy Eleven at Clarke Stadium at 2 pm MT (4 pm ET).
This is the first meeting between the two sides in Canada, with both teams having last faced-off during the Spring Season when the visiting Eddies posted a 2-1 win at IUPUI’s Michael A. Carroll Stadium.
“Dropping points late is a habit the team needs to put to an end, and with the split season format there's plenty of incentive to do so,” said Indy Eleven coach Juergen Sommer, whose side lost 2-1 last week at home to Tampa Bay. “We've got a group with some character that can put last Saturday behind us and focus on the task at hand this weekend at FC Edmonton.”
Soccer fans around the world will also be able to ‘Watch Every Match Live’ – all 90 NASL matches -- throughout the 2014 North American Soccer League season, including all the Week 3 matches on www.NASLLive.com.
NASL Fall Season Week 3 Result/Schedule (All kickoff times US EST)
Wednesday, July 23
San Antonio Scorpions 2 Carolina RailHawks 0
Saturday, July 26
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Minnesota United FC
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga. 7:30 pm
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. San Antonio Scorpions
Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 pm
Carolina RailHawks vs. Ottawa Fury FC
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C. 7:30 pm
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. New York Cosmos
Lockhart Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 7:30 pm
Sunday, July 27
FC Edmonton vs. Indy Eleven
Clarke Stadium; Edmonton, Alberta 4 pm