Miami, North Carolina, New York Gain Ground On First-Place Jacksonville

Armada FC stays unbeaten with draw, others close gap with Week 6 victories
NASL Staff | Apr 29, 2017

First place didn’t change hands in Week 6 of the NASL Spring Season, but league-leading Jacksonville Armada FC now has three clubs breathing down its neck after Saturday night’s results.

Miami FC, North Carolina FC, and the New York Cosmos picked up Week 6 victories to pull within a point of Armada FC, which claimed a draw at home against Indy Eleven.  

A full recap of each Week 6 contest can be found below: 

Jacksonville Armada FC 1, Indy Eleven 1

Jacksonville Armada FC held onto its league-leading position thanks to a 1-1 draw with Indy Eleven at Hodges Stadium on Saturday night.

The visitors got on the board first through Justin Braun, who is now alone atop the league’s scoring chart with three tallies. In the 25th minute, the tall striker timed his run perfectly to link up with Eamon Zayed’s pass and round the goalkeeper for an easy finish.

Jacksonville pulled even five minutes later, though. Jack Blake’s free kick from the right flank found the head of Trinidad and Tobago international Jonathan Glenn to level the score at 1-1.

Indy had a great opportunity to reclaim the lead in the 54th minute when a deflection off Sinisa Ubiparipovic nearly beat Caleb Patterson-Sewell, but the veteran goalkeeper came up with an outstanding save to keep the ball out.  

Miami FC 2, FC Edmonton 0

Miami FC was dominant in its victory over FC Edmonton on Saturday night, knocking off its Canadian opponent, 2-0, at Riccardo Silva Stadium.

Miami has had the league’s most threatening attack so far this season, but the second-year side has been unlucky on countless occasions. When Michael Lahoud’s shot from distance rattled the crossbar in the 16th minute, it looked like it was going to be another frustrating night for the hosts.

Kwadwo Poku changed that, however, in the 35th minute. The Ghanaian playmaker weaved through the Eddies defense and calmly finished past goalkeeper Chris Konopka to give Miami a 1-0 lead.

Brazilian forward Stefano Pinho increased the home side’s lead in the 63rd minute, finishing off a brilliant give-and-go with teammate Dylan Mares.

The Eddies came very close to slicing Miami’s lead in half in the 77th minute, but Sainey Nyassi’s shot from a tough angle nailed the crossbar and rolled away without an opportunity to knock in the rebound.

On Cuban Heritage Night in Miami, Ariel Martinez, a native of Cuba, nearly put a cherry on top of the victory in the 89th minute after weaving through the penalty area, but his shot from close range was stopped by Konopka.

Puerto Rico FC 0, North Carolina FC 1

Despite a late push from Puerto Rico FC, visiting North Carolina FC walked away with a 1-0 victory at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium on Saturday night.

North Carolina entered Saturday night’s game on the heels of some strong play, and it was the visitors who scored the opener. Jamaican midfielder Lance Laing, who has been in red-hot form to start the season, sent in a cross that was headed home by defender Steven Miller in the 28th minute.

The visitors nearly doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Kareem Moses saw his header cleared off the line by Puerto Rico’s Mike Ramos.

Ramos almost became the home side’s savior at the other end in the 64th minute. The ball fell to the young forward just five yards from the net, but his hard shot was directed right at North Carolina goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre.

Puerto Rico FC controlled the play for much of the second half, and it was Ramos again who nearly brought the hosts level. The Puerto Rican international rattled the post with a powerful header in the 73rd minute. The club’s other Ramos – Pito – forced Syvlestre into an acrobatic save just two minutes later with a headed effort of his own.

In the end, North Carolina avoided giving up a stoppage-time equalizer for a second straight week and wrapped up three points away from home.

San Francisco Deltas 0, New York Cosmos 1

Argentine forward Emmanuel Ledesma scored a stunning goal to earn the New York Cosmos a 1-0 win over the San Francisco Deltas at Kezar Stadium on Saturday night.

Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, who proposed to his girlfriend on the field before the game, made an impressive double-save in the 35th minute to keep the Cosmos off the scoreboard. Ledesma’s cross was knocked away by Peiser, and the Frenchman got up quickly to parry away Javi Marquez’s follow-up volley from seven yards out.

After Marquez went close early in the second half, it was Ledesma’s time to shine in the 69th minute. The former Middlesbrough man took Marquez’s pass and attempted an audacious chip, which he perfectly placed off the post into the back of the net from 18 yards out. It was Ledesma’s first goal in a Cosmos shirt.

San Francisco came close to scoring a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time when Bryan Burke’s cross found the foot of Pablo Dyego on the doorstep, but the Brazilian’s effort left a lot to be desired.

The loss was San Francisco’s first of the season, and the result kept New York undefeated on the road to start the season.

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