Tough Matchups Await As Indy, New York Return Home In Week 5

First-place Armada FC heads to Brooklyn to face defending champion Cosmos
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Apr 20, 2017

Week 5 of the NASL Spring Season features a slate of eye-catching contests. Action will get underway in Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon with a meeting between two unbeaten sides – Indy Eleven and the San Francisco Deltas – at Carroll Stadium. Indy has a chance to break the NASL’s regular-season record for a home unbeaten streak.

In New York, league-leading Jacksonville Armada FC will seek to continue its red-hot start in 2017, but the visitors will have to take down the Cosmos, who took home a victory in their last time out. Jacksonville has yet to concede a goal this season.

In the other matchups this weekend, Miami FC welcomes North Carolina FC to Riccardo Silva Stadium, where the visitors will carry some momentum with them after a big win over FC Edmonton last Saturday. The Eddies, who are still seeking their first win - and point - of the year, will host Puerto Rico FC at Clarke Stadium to round out Saturday’s contests.

A preview of each matchup can be found below:

Indy Eleven vs. San Francisco Deltas
3 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 22
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), (National – Canada), MyINDY (Local – Indianapolis)

Indy Eleven and the San Francisco Deltas both enter the matchup unbeaten to start the 2017 season. Unlike the Deltas, the Boys in Blue are still seeking their first victory. Indy has a chance to extend its unbeaten streak at Carroll Stadium on Saturday afternoon, looking to reach an NASL Modern Era-record 20 games without a loss in regular-season play. While the club has yet to earn all three points in a contest, there were positive signs from its last outing against Puerto Rico FC. Eamon Zayed scored off a pass from Justin Braun, reminding Indy fans just how effective of a combination they were last year. The goal could be a sign of things to come, which would spell further attacking success for the Boys in Blue in 2017.

The Deltas are coming off a tough draw against Jacksonville Armada FC – a scoreless stalemate at Hodges Stadium in the club’s first road test last Saturday. Even though they’re a new side in the NASL, the Deltas are familiar with Indy. The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw in the Deltas’ inaugural game at Kezar Stadium on March 25. Pablo Dyego has been a spark down the flank for San Francisco, scoring once in the club’s first win this year and serving as an attacking threat in the draw against Jacksonville.  

New York Cosmos vs. Jacksonville Armada FC
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 22
MCU Park | Brooklyn, N.Y.
Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada), MSG Networks (Regional – NY/NJ/CT/PA), MSG GO (Regional – NY/NJ/CT/PA)

Jacksonville Armada FC heads up to New York as the leader of the pack. The third-year club is unbeaten through its first three games, claiming a pair of wins before last weekend’s scoreless draw with the San Francisco Deltas. Jacksonville’s defense has been particularly impressive, having not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes of play. The center-back pairing of Aaron Pitchkolan and Mechack Jérôme continues to be rock solid, while goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell has dealt with everything that has come his way. At the other end of the field, Jacksonville’s attack will still need to shift into another gear, especially against a Cosmos side that recently shut out Miami FC, 2-0.

Despite their recent 2-0 win, the Cosmos are also a side that will be asking more from its attack. The club was held scoreless - without a shot on target - in its first two matches of the year. El Salvador international Irvin Herrera and former Italian international Amauri will need to be key contributors in the goals department moving forward. Back at MCU Park, New York will look to claim its first point at its new home ground. The Cosmos fell, 3-0, to Miami in the home opener, but will look to build off the positives from the win in South Florida. Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer is currently leading the NASL in saves with 16, making eight alone in his last outing.

Miami FC vs. North Carolina FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 22
Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), (National – Canada), CW South Florida (Local – Miami), Spectrum SportsChannel (Regional – North/South Carolina), WRAL2 (Local – Cary/Raleigh)

Miami FC is coming off a tough loss against the New York Cosmos, but Alessandro Nesta’s side had a week off to get things right for its meeting with North Carolina FC on Saturday. Miami has had success against North Carolina, having never lost in four meetings (1-3-0) to date. The club boasts a promising attack, despite being shut out by the Cosmos. Miami has created more chances than any other team (39) and created 17 chances in the loss to New York. The attack, led by Stefano Pinho, Jaime Chavez, Dylan Mares, and Kwadwo Poku, should be a big test for North Carolina FC’s back line.

Entering the weekend, North Carolina FC is flying high after its recent 3-1 victory over FC Edmonton. The attack received a boost with Lance Laing’s return from a concussion and he didn’t take long to make an impact, powering a free kick into the top corner just four minutes into the game last weekend. Club captain Nazmi Albadawi and Matt Fondy were also on target in the win. While only conceding one goal, North Carolina’s defense saw the Eddies create 11 chances, and if the visitors were more accurate with their finishing, the scoreline may have been a bit different at Sahlen’s Stadium.

FC Edmonton vs. Puerto Rico FC
9 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 22
Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), (National – Canada), Facebook Live (National – Canada), WAPA 2 (National – Puerto Rico)

FC Edmonton returns to Clarke Stadium after enduring a tough stretch to start the season. The Eddies have lost all three contests so far, but can possibly take some solace from Tomi Ameobi ending the club’s scoring drought last Saturday in North Carolina. Former Rangers midfielder Dean Shiels also looked lively, flashing signs that he is fully settled and embedded in the Eddies squad. The usual tough defense for Edmonton aims to rebound after conceding three goals last weekend against North Carolina FC.

The Canadian side’s next opponent, Puerto Rico FC, heads north in the midst of an unbeaten run to start the year. Much like Indy Eleven, though, the club has yet to record a victory. Puerto Rican international Pito Ramos has been the star so far, leading the NASL in chances created (10), sitting tied for the league lead in goals with two, and also chipping in an assist. Veteran Walter Ramirez has also made an early impact with a goal and an assist in three games.  

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