Monday, September 16, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 24

USL Pro crowned it’s champion a week ago, but at the midway point of the NASL Fall campaign, the top seven of the eight clubs are separated by only four points.

North American Soccer League

The Fall season is starting to look a lot like the Spring campaign with the table remaining incredibly tight due to a high frequency of draws (12 of 28 games). With Carolina and unbeaten Tampa Bay playing to a draw Saturday thanks to a last-minute 18-yard tally from Carolina's Austin da Luz, it allowed the now 3-1-3 New York Cosmos to jump a point into first on Sunday with a narrow 1-0 road victory against FC Edmonton despite only scoring at a rate of one goal per game.

The logjam at the top though is not limited to that trio. Fort Lauderdale, on a five-game unbeaten run, is in a three-way tie for second by with the RailHawks and Rowdies, and the Spring champion Atlanta Silverbacks are only a point back after handing winless San Antonio a 2-1 loss. And despite being in the bottom three, Minnesota and Edmonton, unbeaten at home now in their last seven, are only four points out from first.

The lone contest Sunday proved to be an interesting contest. In the 35th minute a handball resulted in a free kick for the hosts, which ended up being retaken at the referee's behest. The second opportunity was put away by Lance Laing, ending Richard Sanchez' shutout streak (353 minutes) six minutes shy of the league record and eliciting protests from the Strikers' bench that saw both coaches and a player sent off.

SATURDAY, September 14

San Antonio 1 :: 2 Atlanta
ATL: Ruben Luna 13
ATL: Danny Barrera (Ruben Luna) 51
SA: Hans Denissen (Javier Saavedra) 66

Tampa Bay 2 :: 2 Carolina 
CAR: Ty Shipalane 30
TB: Eric Frimpong (Georgi Hristov) 72
TB: Jay Needham (Luke Mulholland) 74
CAR: Austin da Luz 90

Minnesota 0 :: 1 New York
NY: Sebastian Guenzatti (Hunter Freeman) 77
~ NY: Hunter Freeman (ejection) 80

SUNDAY, September 15

Fort Lauderdale 1 :: 1 Edmonton
EDM: Lance Laing 38
FTL: Yaikel Perez (Martin Nunez) 57
~ FTL: Coach Gunter Kronsteiner (ejection) 40, GK Coach Ricardo Lopes (ejection) 40, bench player Walter Restrepo (ejection) 40

MLS Reserve League

Andrew Wenger led the Impact to a victory over the Crew, creating the opener with a shot that was put away on the rebound and two minutes later scoring himself to double the advantage. Andre Akpan stood out again for the Red Bulls, rallying New York to a win with both goals. The results evened the two Canadian clubs with one another atop the East Division of the Reserve League based on points per game.

Chivas USA, now second in the West Divison of the MLSRL, received two standout performances as Tristen Bowen scored twice to put the California side in front, and after Ryan Johnson made it a one-goal contest he set up Jorge Villafana for the first of his two goals to secure the victory. A rip from 15 yards and a header off a free kick doubled Seattle's joy on the weekend against Real Salt Lake as they posted a 2-0 victory for the second consecutive day, though it was only their third in 11 Reserve League games.

After going the first half scoreless in Colorado, it looked like Kenny Cooper's tally off a corner kick in the 52nd minutes would be the only strike in the Dallas road win until the final seven minutes plus stoppage. Ramon Nunez doubled the lead in the 83rd and the two sides exchanged goals in added-on time as FCD, the only road side to win this week, picked up their third win in 10 games this season.

SATURDAY, September 14

Salt Lake 0 :: 2 Seattle
SEA: David Estrada (Philip Lund, Blair Gavin) 13
SEA: Patrick Ianni (Blair Gavin) 54

Columbus 0 :: 3 Montreal
MON: Andrea Pisanu 20
MON: Andrew Wenger 22
MON: Blake Smith 48

SUNDAY, September 15

Dallas 3 :: 1 Colorado
DAL: Kenny Cooper (Michel) 52
DAL: Ramón Nuñez 83
COL: Martín Rivero (Nick LaBrocca) 92
DAL: Victor Ulloa (Eric Hassli) 94

Toronto 1 :: 2 New York
TOR: Emery Welshman (Michael Thomas) 50
NY: Andre Akpan 56
NY: Andre Akpan (Marius Obekop) 75

Portland 1 :: 4 Chivas USA
CHV: Tristan Bowen 37
CHV: Tristan Bowen (Gabriel Farfan) 48
POR: Ryan Johnson (Ben Zemanski) 55
CHV: Jorge Villafaña (Tristan Bowen, Jose Manuel Rivera) 73
CHV: Jorge Villafaña 82

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