Spring Season Action Picks Back Up In San Francisco, Indy, And Puerto Rico

First-place Miami heads to Indy with hopes of spoiling hosts’ record unbeaten streak
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | May 18, 2017

With four straight wins in all competitions, Miami FC is flying high heading into Week 9 of the NASL Spring Season. Alessandro Nesta’s side now has a chance to end Indy Eleven’s record home unbeaten streak, which stands at 21 games, on Saturday night.

Elsewhere on Saturday, North Carolina FC heads south to the Caribbean to meet Puerto Rico FC after knocking off previously unbeaten Jacksonville Armada FC a week ago. Lance Laing, the reigning NASL Player of the Week, has played a starring role for North Carolina in recent weeks.

Before Saturday night’s action, Jacksonville hits the road hoping to shake off its recent loss. The club visits the San Francisco Deltas, who return home after two straight road wins, for a Friday night clash at Kezar Stadium.

Continue below for a preview of each Week 9 matchup:

San Francisco Deltas vs. Jacksonville Armada FC
10:30 p.m. ET | Friday, May 19
Kezar Stadium | San Francisco, Calif.
Watch | Twitter (National – U.S., Canada)

The San Francisco Deltas are aiming to make it four straight wins in all competitions when they host Jacksonville Armada FC on Friday night at Kezar Stadium. The Deltas picked up back-to-back road wins, first downing North Carolina FC, 2-1, and then posting a 1-0 victory against FC Edmonton last Sunday. Cristian Portilla scored the goal against the Eddies and has been involved in the club’s last three goals overall, picking up two assists in the win over North Carolina. Goalkeeper Romuald Peiser has been at his best. The former NASL Golden Glove winner is tied for most clean sheets with three, and he also has a league-best goals against average at 0.57.

Jacksonville remains on the road after falling for the first time in league play this year, losing to North Carolina FC, 3-1. In the loss, though, veteran defender and club captain Aaron Pitchkolan reached a milestone, becoming the second player in the NASL Modern Era to reach 150 regular-season appearances. Jacksonville’s usual sturdy defense, which had allowed three goals on the season total until last weekend’s loss, will aim to get back to basics at San Francisco. The club is also looking for its first league win since Week 3 of the Spring Season, which came in the form of a 1-0 result over Edmonton. Jacksonville and San Francisco played to a scoreless draw in Jacksonville in Week 4.

Puerto Rico FC vs. North Carolina FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 20
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium | Bayamón, P.R.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), (National – Canada). WAPA 2 (National – Puerto Rico)

Puerto Rico FC’s attack looked potent last Sunday against the New York Cosmos, but it wasn’t enough to record its first victory in the 2017 Spring Season. The club fell to the Cosmos, 4-3, marking the second time this year that Puerto Rico scored three goals in a game but didn’t find victory. Guyana international Emery Welshman has made an impact since being inserted into the starting lineup, scoring in back-to-back games and also adding an assist in New York. His strike partner, Giuseppe Gentile, also looked sharp in the defeat.

North Carolina’s attack enters the contest in the Caribbean firing on all cylinders. The club scored three times against Jacksonville Armada FC last weekend in a 3-1 victory, led by Jamaican international Lance Laing. The three-time NASL Best XI selection scored a pair of goals, bringing his league total to four, which is tied for top in the league. North Carolina also hung six goals on the Carolina Dynamo in a U.S. Open Cup victory on Wednesday night. At the other end of the field, former U.S. youth international Brian Sylvestre currently leads the league in saves with 29. Sylvestre, though, kept his only clean sheet in the previous contest against Puerto Rico, which ended 1-0, for the visitors. Defender Steven Miller scored the lone goal in the game, assisted by Laing.

Indy Eleven vs. Miami FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 20
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada), MyINDY (Local – Indianapolis), CW South Florida (Local – Miami)

Indy Eleven’s unbeaten start to the Spring Season fell by the wayside last weekend in a 3-2 defeat to Miami FC, which got a goal from former Indy midfielder Dylan Mares. The Boys in Blue will now look to protect their record home unbeaten streak at Carroll Stadium. Indy has found goals hard to come by at home in recent weeks. The club’s last two home games have ended in 0-0 draws. Forward Justin Braun, though, is tied for the league lead with four tallies on the year. Indy’s attack has received a boost, however, with Ben Speas and Don Smart returning from injury to feature in Miami. Speas, in particular, started the season in strong fashion with a goal and an assist in his first two starts for the club.

Through eight weeks of the Spring Season, no club has had a more potent attack than Miami FC. In the club’s current three-game league winning streak, Miami has scored seven goals. Production has come from all over the field for Alessandro Nesta’s side. Mares, Vincenzo Rennella, Kwadwo Poku, Stefano Pinho, and fullback Robert Baggio Kcira have all scored twice. Rennella is tied for the league lead in assists with three. 

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