TEAM OF THE WEEK | Spring Season Week 1

The first Team of the Week is highlighted by the New York Cosmos' Juan Arango and the Carolina RailHawks' Austin da Luz
NASL Staff | Apr 6, 2016

The 2016 NASL season opened up with two new club debuts and new partnerships off the field (beIN SPORTS and Opta). On the field, there were several key performances. Juan Arango scored twice in the New York Cosmos’ win in The Championship Final rematch with Ottawa Fury FC. Tiyi Shipalane and Austin da Luz both found the net to lift the Carolina RailHawks to a comeback victory over Minnesota United.

Here is the full list of the first Team of the Week of the Spring Season:

GK: Matt VanOekel (FC Edmonton) – The Edmonton ‘keeper made four key saves to preserve a shutout against Rayo OKC, while the Eddies played down a man for 60 minutes in a 0-0 draw. Most notably, he made a double save, first stopping Greek international Georgios Samaras and then Salvadoran international Richie Menjivar.

DEF: Papé Diakité (FC Edmonton) – The center back controlled the Eddies’ box, making an impressive 15 clearances to keep Rayo OKC from scoring. It was a sturdy performance for the debutant.

DEF: Gale Agbossoumonde (Fort Lauderdale Strikers) – In his debut with the Strikers, the center back made a key goal-line clearance to keep Fort Lauderdale down by only a goal. It was a pivotal moment as Maicon Santos would later score the equalizer. Gale Agbossoumonde also helped in the Strikers’ possession game, completing 28 of his 30 passes out of the back in the 1-1 draw.

DEF: Michel (Rayo OKC) – The left back put in a solid shift at both ends of the pitch. In the defensive end, he won seven of his 11 duels, while being dangerous in the attack, amounting for four of Rayo OKC’s shots. The club also kept a clean sheet.

DEF: Nemanja Vukovic (Indy Eleven) – On the road, Indy was able to pick up a point in a 0-0 draw. Debutant Nemanja Vukovic put in a solid shift on the back line, making key interceptions to break up Tampa Bay attacks.

MID: Austin da Luz (Carolina RailHawks) – The midfielder was dangerous in attack from the first whistle for Carolina. After missing a header early in the match, da Luz ended up with the game-winning goal, connecting with a Kareem Moses cross in the 26th minute that was the difference in the 2-1 win over Minnesota.

MID: Tiyi Shipalane (Carolina RailHawks) – Scoring a stunning chip to get the RailHawks tied on the scoresheet, Shipalane put in a strong performance on both sides of the field for the RailHawks in the win.

MID: Juan Arango (New York Cosmos) – The debut for the Venezuelan international couldn’t have gone any better. He scored twice in a matter of minutes in the latter stages of the first half to lift the Cosmos to a 3-0 victory over Ottawa Fury FC. He also claimed Player of the Week honors for his performance.

MID: Michael Nanchoff (Tampa Bay Rowdies) – The midfielder had a strong debut in the middle of the Rowdies’ midfield. He was also tidy with keeping possession in the draw, completing 85 percent of his passes.

FWD: Dario Cvitanich (Miami FC) – Making his NASL debut for expansion side Miami, Cvitanich put his name in the history books as the first goalscorer. He converted from the penalty spot in the 1-1 draw. The Argentine was active in the first half before being sacrificed with Miami down a man.

FWD: Jairo Arrieta (New York Cosmos) – The forward provided a strong debut for New York and was involved in both first-half goals. His pass found Arango for the match’s opener and it was his shot that was parried into Arango’s pass for the second goal. 

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