Scorpions' Billy Forbes, United's Kalif Alhassan, and Rowdies' Darnell King highlighted the top performers in Week 7
NASL Staff | May 20, 2015

San Antonio Scorpions forward Billy Forbes, Minnesota United midfielder Kalif Alhassan, and Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Darnell King each helped their teams earn three key points in the Spring Season standings over the weekend, and for their efforts they have been named to the North American Soccer League (NASL) Team of the Week.

Here is the full Team of the Week following last weekend’s action:

GK: Matt Pickens (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – Pickens kept his second consecutive clean sheet to help the Rowdies earn a 1-0 win over their rivals, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The win vaulted the Rowdies into pole position in the standings for the Coastal Cup – the rivalry trophy given to the league’s top Florida team. Pickens has allowed just one goal since taking over for the injured Kamil Contofalsky.

DEF: Justin Davis (Minnesota United) – For a defender, it doesn’t get much better than helping shut down the opposing attack and putting your name on the scoresheet. Davis did exactly that in a 3-1 win over Indy Eleven on Saturday. The Arizona native scored the goal that put the Loons ahead in the second half, with the defender venturing forward at the right time to finish off a rebound at the back post.

DEF: Darnell King (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – Until this season, the Strikers were the only club King knew. On Saturday, in his first appearance against his former side, the Tampa native helped shut the door against a strong Strikers attack, preserving a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory.

DEF: Paul Black (Atlanta Silverbacks) – Jacksonville Armada FC carried its strong attack into Atlanta last weekend, and the Silverbacks continued their stout defensive work to keep them at bay. Black was tasked with keeping tabs on Pascal Millien, and the Englishman slowed down the speedy winger and limited his opportunities. It was another strong 90 minutes from Black, who has become a vital member of Atlanta’s back line.

DEF: Stephen DeRoux (San Antonio Scorpions) – There was no shortage of goals between FC Edmonton and the Scorpions, and DeRoux was able to provide the assist on Billy Forbes’ first goal of the match. When the Scorpions needed to hold onto their lead in the waning moments, DeRoux helped the Scorpions thwart repeated Edmonton attacks to earn a 3-2 win. The victory was the club’s first in Edmonton and also ended a 10-match home unbeaten run for the Eddies in league play.     

MID: Kalif Alhassan (Minnesota United) – Alhassan couldn’t have hit a better strike to open his NASL goal-scoring account. The Ghanaian curled the ball into the top corner, and although Indy ‘keeper Keith Cardona was able to get fingertips on it, he couldn’t do enough to keep it out. Out on the flank, Alhassan has continued to become a bigger influence on the Loons’ attack as the season has progressed, and it was another strong display from the midfielder in the Loons’ second victory in as many weeks.

MID: Andrés Flores (New York Cosmos) – As a second-half substitute, Flores couldn’t have made a bigger impact in the match against the Carolina RailHawks. After an own goal in the 90th minute opened the door for a Cosmos comeback, the Salvadoran National Team captain scored a dramatic equalizer to rescue a point for the visitors. Flores ran onto an attempted RailHawks clearance and fired first time for the game-tying goal in the 97th minute.

MID: Tiyi Shipalane (Carolina RailHawks) – Shipalane provided the RailHawks with another dynamic performance on the wings. In the seventh minute of the match, the South African midfielder showed his speed, beating a pair of defenders to set up Neil Hlavaty’s opening goal. Shipalane then created a goal for himself in the second half, cutting in from the right-hand side to strike a curling, left-footed effort past Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.   

FWD: Billy Forbes (San Antonio Scorpions) –
After changing the complexion of the match a weekend ago with a game-tying assist, Forbes was the catalyst for the Scorpions once again on Sunday. Beating the offside trap, the Turks and Caicos international restored San Antonio’s lead after Daryl Fordyce cancelled out Omar Cummings’ opener. The 24-year-old forward gave FC Edmonton’s defenders fits throughout the match, and that tenacity paid off in the form of a second goal. Forbes nicked the ball off of Mallan Roberts and slotted a shot past goalkeeper Matt VanOekel for the decisive goal in a back-and-forth affair in Edmonton. It was the first multi-goal match of his career, and the performance ultimately earned him NASL Player of the Week honors.

FWD: Alhassane Keita (Jacksonville Armada FC) – Known for his inspiring chant before each match, Keita continues to inspire his team on the pitch as well. Sporting a bandage from a cut he picked up last week, the Guinean international looked dangerous against a staunch Atlanta back line. After the Armada FC fell behind in the first minute of play, Keita eventually pulled the teams level. Marcos Flores threaded the ball between Atlanta’s center back pairing, and Keita utilized his space to beat Silverbacks goalkeeper Steward Ceus with a shot to the far post in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw. 

FWD: Robert Hernández (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – The young Venezuelan forward got his first taste of the Florida Derby amid heavy rainfall on Saturday night, but his goal allowed the home support to leave Al Lang Stadium with a feeling of satisfaction. Hernández scored the match’s only goal, pouncing on a rebound in the 56th minute to beat Strikers goalkeeper David Meves. With the win, the Rowdies have now claimed victories over both of their Florida rivals.

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