Spring Season Finales Present Golden Opportunities To Improve Position Going Into Second Half

Deltas, Armada FC look to enter Fall Season with leg up on competition
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Jul 13, 2017

Photo credit: Trevor Ruszkowski/Indy Eleven

Miami FC may have wrapped up the Spring Season title last weekend, but there is still plenty to play for in the final week of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season on Saturday night.

Miami booked its ticket to The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament, just under a week ago, but given the nature of the league’s split-season format and the manner in which clubs quality for the postseason, Saturday has three big points up for grabs in Edmonton, Indy, North Carolina, and San Francisco.

Clubs will want to stockpile as many points as possible as they jockey for position in the NASL Combined Standings, which ends up being the deciding factor for at least two spots in The Championship. The two best teams in the Combined Standings (that don’t win either the Spring or Fall Season) receive a postseason berth, putting value on each point earned over the course of the year.

To close out the Spring campaign, Indy Eleven will welcome Jacksonville Armada FC to Carroll Stadium. The 6:30 p.m. ET clash will get the ball rolling for the weekend’s action, and just an hour later, North Carolina FC will kick off against Puerto Rico FC at Sahlen’s Stadium.

FC Edmonton, which earned a comeback victory a weekend ago, turns its attention to the visiting New York Cosmos at Clarke Stadium before Miami faces off with the San Francisco Deltas at Kezar Stadium after a 7-0 win last Saturday.

Jacksonville and Puerto Rico kicked off the final week of the Spring Season with a 1-1 draw at Hodges Stadium on Wednesday night.

Continue below for the weekend action in Week 17:

Indy Eleven vs. Jacksonville Armada FC
6:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 15
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S., Canada), (U.S., Canada), MyINDY-TV (Local – Indianapolis)

Entering the final weekend of the Spring Season, Indy Eleven has started to find the form that led the club to The Championship Final in 2016. The Boys in Blue have earned a win in three of their last four contests, going unbeaten during that stretch. The club’s most recent win came in a 2-1 victory over the New York Cosmos, with Don Smart and Justin Braun getting on the scoresheet for the hosts.

Jacksonville showed fight on Wednesday night, scoring a goal in second-half stoppage time to earn a point against visiting Puerto Rico FC. Derek Gebhard has scored Armada FC’s last three goals, and met a cross from Charles Eloundou in the 92nd minute to tally the club’s only goal in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw. Jacksonville had success against Indy Eleven on its last trip to Carroll Stadium, earning a 4-1 victory on June 10.

North Carolina FC vs. Puerto Rico FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 15
Sahlen’s Stadium | Cary, N.C.
Watch | beIN SPORTS USA (National – U.S., Canada), beIN SPORTS CONNECT (National – U.S., Canada), Spectrum SportsChannel (Regional – North/South Carolina), WRAL2 (Local – Cary/Raleigh), WAPA 2 (National – Puerto Rico)

North Carolina FC’s string of troublesome results north of the border continued with a loss to the Eddies in Week 16. The club held the lead for the majority of the contest, but allowed a pair of goals in a four-minute stretch, which sealed its fate. North Carolina will now focus on finishing the Spring Season on a high note against Puerto Rico FC. The club’s last home contest ended in a 1-0 win over Spring Season Champion Miami FC.  

Puerto Rico was moments away from earning a victory against Jacksonville Armada FC on Wednesday night, but conceded late to leave Florida with only a point. Forward Giuseppe Gentile continued his strong play on the flanks, sending in the ball that was knocked into the Jacksonville net by Drew Beckie for an own goal. The club will now look to end a two-game losing skid to North Carolina on Saturday.

FC Edmonton vs. New York Cosmos
9 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 15
Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta
Watch | ESPN3 (National – U.S.), (National – Canada), Facebook Live (National – Canada)

FC Edmonton fell behind North Carolina FC, 1-0, and it looked like a familiar situation was set to play out yet again for the Eddies. The club had lost four straight games by a 1-0 scoreline entering last Friday’s affair, and missed several chances in the early going against North Carolina. In a four-minute span in the second half, however, the tide completely turned. Tomi Ameobi and then Mauro Eustaquio found the back of the net to propel FC Edmonton to victory. The club now faces the New York Cosmos, who the Eddies defeated, 4-2, earlier in the Spring Season at MCU Park in Brooklyn.

Last weekend, the Cosmos overturned an early deficit against Indy Eleven, but the defending NASL Champions were unable to at least take a point against Indy Eleven. New York conceded in the 75th minute in the loss to the Boys in Blue. Argentine star Emmanuel Ledesma continued to shine in the loss, scoring a goal in his fourth straight game for the club.

San Francisco Deltas vs. Miami FC
10 p.m. ET | Saturday, July 15
Kezar Stadium | San Francisco, Calif.
Watch | Twitter (National – U.S., Canada) CW South Florida (Local – Miami)

The San Francisco Deltas had a shot at the Spring Season title, but were unable to keep their unbeaten run on the road intact last weekend. The Deltas, instead, left Miami licking their wounds after a 7-0 loss. The club will look to bounce back and regain confidence playing against Miami once again – this time at Kezar Stadium – this weekend. Despite the result in Miami, the Deltas have had a great start to their first NASL campaign.

Miami enters the final weekend with silverware already in its trophy cabinet. Alessandro Nesta’s men will now look to put the cherry on top of their fairytale Spring Season after it thrashed San Francisco a weekend ago. Stéfano Pinho scored four times last weekend, while Dylan Mares added two goals and an assist in the commanding performance.  

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