The race to qualify for NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 resumes this weekend as eight teams target the North American Soccer League fall title.
The Atlanta Silverbacks claimed a dramatic 3-0 victory away to Minnesota United FC on the final day of the spring campaign to top the standings on July 4 and won the right to host Soccer Bowl where they will meet the Fall Season winner on November 9.
Atlanta Silverbacks Challenge Minnesota United FC To Steal Their Title Thunder
Following the mid-season break, the Silverbacks return to the scene of their spring victory in one of four games being played this Saturday, August 3, and coach Brian Haynes plans on blazing a trail through the NASL to underline that his side is the team to beat in 2013.
“Other teams might think that we’re just going to take it easy because we’ve already booked our place in the final, but they’ll be in for a bit of a rude awakening if they do that,” warned Haynes. “I’m not in the least bit satisfied right now. Yes, we won the first half, but as far as I’m concerned, we could have done much better. We look forward to improving on the things we didn’t do well last season.”
Minnesota United FC coach Manny Lagos saw his side lose three games at the end having been in title contention. He said: “Atlanta did a good job getting first place and taking the first season and we’re looking forward to the challenge of playing the defending season one champs and competing and playing well.
“We’re looking forward to getting back on the field and competing again to wash the bad taste out our mouth that we didn’t finish where we’d like. We’re excited to compete and try to win a Soccer Bowl.”
New York Cosmos Return Renews Rivalry With Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The legendary New York Cosmos return to NASL action after an absence of almost three decades to immediately rekindle a storied rivalry with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at 7pm at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium. The long anticipated clash features two coaches new to the NASL.
“All of us – the coaching staff, the players, the front office – we are very excited to get this new venture going,” said Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese. “The Cosmos have such a special history and it’s wonderful to be a part of their re-birth. This weekend, against the Strikers, against our old rivals, should be a great test and a great start for this team, and I can’t wait.”
With the standings slate wiped clean from the Spring Season when the Striker propped up the NASL table, both sides now have an equal shot at taking the Fall Season title and earning a date with the Silverbacks.
Fort Lauderdale heads to New York under new coach Günter Kronsteiner, who said: “I believe it’s going to be very difficult for both of us. The Cosmos are new, so we don’t really know how they play, and our team has also gone through many changes from the fall season. I wish I had more time to prepare for the first game, but we’re going to go out and give one hundred percent and see what comes from this. It won’t be easy, but I’m looking forward to it.”
To celebrate the return of the Cosmos legendary players Pelé and Carlos Alberto and the family of the late great Giorgio Chinaglia will be honored before the game.
“We can never forget the great memories of playing for the Cosmos,” said Pelé, the team’s Honorary President. “It's good to have the team back, and to involve my friend and captain Carlos Alberto along with the family of Giorgio Chinaglia.”
Free-Scoring Carolina RailHawks Aim To Prize Open FC Edmonton’s Stingy Defense
The Carolina RailHawks, who missed out on an opportunity to wrap up the Spring Season title in the final two weeks of the campaign face FC Edmonton at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7pm ET on Saturday. The RailHawks boast eight-goal scorer Brian Shriver, who jointly leads the race for the NASL Golden Boot top scorer award, but comes up against the league’s stingiest defense that allowed only 12 goals in 12 games in the spring.
“It’s been a good break,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “We have been able to get some players healthy, but the team is ready to get back on the field and playing again. We’ve been very sharp in training and they will be ready to go this weekend.”
FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller was busy during the summer guiding the fortunes of Canada as his nation’s interim coach at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
He added: “It was a good break, and the lads took care of themselves over their few days off. They have worked hard in training to make sure we’re prepared for the start of the fall season. We hope we can spur on our offense and build off our consistent defensive play.”
San Antonio Scorpions Want Revenge For Tampa Bay Rowdies Spoiling Their Spring Party
The other striker pushing to win the Golden Boot is Hans Denissen of the San Antonio Scorpions, who welcome the Tampa Bay Rowdies to Toyota Field, just as they did for their first home game of the Spring Season. The Scorpions have not forgotten what happened on that occasion.
"Tampa came in here for our opener, and we remember on their black board in the dressing room, seeing ‘Lets ruin the party’; and they did,” said Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson. “For us that’s big motivation.
“We fell short in the spring by one point, so its motivating to know that were we’re one point away from a championship. We got off to a slow start in the spring, so we are very focused on the Tampa game this Saturday.”
Rowdies coach Ricky Hill knows the feeling of winning a NASL title having led his side to the championship in 2012. In the spring, the Rowdies boasted the best away record with four wins from six games, but faltered at home with only one win and finished fourth in the standings as a result.
"We are delighted that the NASL Fall Season is beginning this weekend,” said Hill. “I am just as eager as our players to get back on the pitch and prove that we deserve to be in the Soccer Bowl final. We have a tough match in San Antonio but we expect to come away with the three points.”
What happens if the Atlanta Silverbacks win the 2013 NASL Fall Season? If Brian Haynes masterminds winning a second piece of silverware, the team with the next best combined record from the spring and fall seasons will advance to NASL Soccer Bowl 2013.
Week 1 Schedule (All kickoff times US EST) Saturday, August 3
Carolina RailHawks vs. FC Edmonton
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C. 7:00 pm
New York Cosmos vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
James M. Shuart Stadium, Hempstead, N.Y. 7:00 pm
Minnesota United FC vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
NSC Stadium, Blaine, Minn. 8:00 pm
San Antonio Scorpions vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Toyota Field, San Antonio, Tex. 8:30 pm
All games will be streamed live and can be watched via the NASL official website www.NASL.comand at each respective team website.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|