Four NASL Soccer Clubs Post Victories & End Spring Season With A Victory
Indy stays red-hot with win over Jacksonville; Miami drills San Francisco
NASL Soccer News: North American Soccer League (NASL) spring season is drawing to a close and a few standout teams emerge with a strong record.
Indy Eleven has officially rekindled the form it displayed last year when it captured the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season Championship.
The Boys in Blue may have surrendered their crown to Miami FC in 2017, but a strong finish to the Spring Season has the club feeling confident going into the second half of the year.
Indy was one of four winners on Saturday night, topping Jacksonville Armada FC on a beautiful night at Carroll Stadium.
North Carolina FC scored late to collect three points against visiting Puerto Rico FC, while the heroic New York Cosmos snuck by host FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium.
Spring Season Champion Miami FC continued its torrid run of form, traveling across the country to defeat the San Francisco Deltas for a second straight weekend.
Here is NASL’s recap of each Spring Season finale:
Indy Eleven stayed hot and closed out the Spring Season with a 2-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC at Carroll Stadium on Saturday night.
Goals from defender Nemanja Vukovic and midfielder Craig Henderson gave the Boys in Blue their fourth win in five games.
After both sides traded scoring chances in the first half, Vukovic opened the scoring in the 48th minute. Midfielder Brad Ring lifted a long ball across the field to Vukovic, and the Montenegrin veteran took a touch and curled the ball inside the far post to make the score 1-0.
New Zealand international Craig Henderson doubled Indy’s advantage in the 68th minute when he finished off a pass from forward Eamon Zayed. Jamaican midfielder Don Smart played the initial ball in for Indy and the goal was Henderson’s first in an Indy shirt.
Indy claimed 13 points over its final five games of the Spring Season, shaking off a poor start to move towards the middle of the pack heading into the second half of the year.
North Carolina FC 2, Puerto Rico FC 1
A stoppage-time penalty kick from forward Matt Fondy earned North Carolina FC a 2-1 win over Puerto Rico FC at Sahlen’s Stadium on Saturday night.
Defender Phanuel Kavita equalized for Puerto Rico FC late in the second half before Fondy converted the winner from the penalty spot just before the final whistle.
After Puerto Rico forward Giuseppe Gentile had the game’s first true scoring chance, North Carolina would be the one to get on the scoreboard first. Nazmi Albadawi, an NASL Best XI selection last year, played midfielder Lance Laing through on goal and the Jamaican international did the rest to put the hosts up, 1-0, in the 17th minute.
Kavita’s first goal for Puerto Rico brought the visitors level in the 84th minute. The Congolese defender fired home a picture-perfect cross from teammate Kyle Culbertson to even the score at 1-1.
It wasn’t to be for Puerto Rico, however, as Fondy’s conversion from the penalty spot in stoppage time sealed all three points for North Carolina.
FC Edmonton 0, New York Cosmos 1
Playing in front of a sellout crowd at Clarke Stadium, FC Edmonton came up just short against the New York Cosmos in a 1-0 loss on Saturday night.
U.S. youth international Eric Calvillo scored an unconventional goal late in the game to wrap up three points for the defending NASL champions.
The Eddies looked lively at the outset and nearly went ahead in the 37th minute. Canadian international Ben Fisk’s free kick was met in the air by midfielder Sabri Khattab, who saw his header tipped over by Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Calvillo, still just 19 years old, forced an impressive save out of Eddies goalkeeper Tyson Farago in the 51st minute when he dribbled through the heart of the Eddies’ defense and fired a low shot that Farago did well to tip away.
The Cosmos made the breakthrough in the 79th minute and it was Calvillo who would receive credit for the goal. Following a low cross, the California native tapped the ball across the goal line after it bounced around in the six-yard box. The goal, which would stand as the winner, was Calvillo’s second as a member of the Cosmos.
New York overtook Jacksonville on the final day to claim third place in the final Spring Season Standings.
San Francisco Deltas 1, Miami FC 3
A week after beating the San Francisco Deltas, 7-0, Spring Season Champion Miami FC continued its strong play against the Bay Area side, claiming a 3-1 win at Kezar Stadium on Saturday night.
French veteran Vincenzo Rennella reclaimed sole possession of the top spot on the league’s scoring chart, scoring twice in the victory to bring his Spring Season total to 10 goals. Ghanaian international Kwadwo Poku added a third for the visitors before forward Tommy Heinemann pulled one back for the Deltas midway through the second half.
Rennella opened the scoring in the 27th minute when he pounced on a rebound given away by Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser. Miami forward Jaime Chavez fired in the shot that Peiser couldn’t handle, and Rennella did the rest. On the other side of halftime, Rennella was on the board again. The La Liga and Serie A veteran drew a penalty kick and swiftly converted it in the 50th minute to double Miami’s advantage.
It was 3-0 six minutes later thanks to Poku. Defender Hunter Freeman whipped in a free kick from the left side that picked out Poku’s back-post run for an easy headed finish. Heinemann headed home a consolation goal in the 71st minute after coming excruciatingly close to scoring a goal just five minutes earlier. The veteran forward rose high above the Miami back line to bury Andrew Lubahn’s cross and make the score 3-1.
Photo Credit: North American Soccer League