American Men’s Soccer off to a Strong Start – 2017 NASL Season Kicks Off With Three Tight Contests
After a distraught period, the 2017 North American Soccer League (NASL) season has opened up demonstrating real strength and power.
With a trio of games in North Carolina, Puerto Rico, and San Francisco. In the end, nothing separated the six sides in action on Saturday night as all three matchups ended in a stalemate.
The San Francisco Deltas earned a hard-fought point in their inaugural game against Indy Eleven, while the defending champion New York Cosmos played host Puerto Rico FC to a scoreless draw.
North Carolina FC got off to a fast start against Miami FC, but settled for a point after a quick answer from the visitors.
More on each season-opening clash can be found below:
San Francisco Deltas 1-1 Indy Eleven
The San Francisco Deltas looked poised to capture three points in their first ever NASL game, but 2016 runner-up Indy Eleven wouldn’t allow it.
Kyle Bekker’s strike in the 31st minute will go down in San Francisco soccer history as the Deltas’ first official goal. The Canadian international met Danny Cruz’s low cross to beat veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch, sending the Kezar Stadium faithful into a frenzy.
The Boys in Blue weren’t fazed by the opener, though, and their patience paid off in the 58th minute when rookie forward Tanner Thompson headed home a picture-perfect cross from teammate Ben Speas.
Both sides knocked on the door late in the game, and it was Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser who was forced into a few difficult saves down the stretch. Despite the flurry of chances, a split of the points was in the cards for Indy and San Francisco.
North Carolina FC 1-1 Miami FC
North Carolina FC and Miami FC provided early fireworks, but both sides had to settle for a 1-1 draw in the league’s season-opening tilt.
It didn’t take long for the first goal of the 2017 season as forward Matt Fondy found the back of the net in just four minutes. North Carolina FC pounced on a defensive miscue when Lance Laing intercepted an errant pass.
He played the ball to Fondy, who was able to beat Miami goalkeeper Daniel Vega for the opening goal.
Miami answered just 10 minutes later when Kwadwo Poku was played into space by Stefano Pinho. Poku’s effort was initially saved by Brian Sylvestre, but Poku was able to squeeze in the rebound.
While both sides pressed for a winning goal, neither side was able to claim all three points at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Puerto Rico FC 0-0 New York Cosmos
The New York Cosmos began their title defense and had to settle for a point on the road in a hard-fought scoreless draw at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium.
Spanish midfielder Yuma came close for the home side just before halftime, but his powerful effort from distance went just wide. The Cosmos were closest to finding the breakthrough in the second half when combination play from Andrés Flores and Amauri led to a great chance in the 62nd minute. Flores’ shot from close range trickled just wide of the post. Later, Puerto Rico FC goalkeeper Trevor Spangenberg was able to pounce on a loose ball in the box in the game’s waning moments to preserve the clean sheet.
Source: NASL Press Release