Monday, September 23, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 25

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It took eight weeks, but teams are beginning to separate into tiers in the NASL with the New York Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies pulling a handful of points clear of the pack. Meanwhile, the MLS Reserve League saw a light week of action with only two contests.

North American Soccer League

The Rowdies ran their unbeaten streak to 10 games (5-0-5) with a win against Spring champion Atlanta, but were unable to claim first with New York also getting full points. It took over a half to get things going before Georgi Hristov scored back-to-back tallies in a four minute span, putting away a ball from Luke Mulholland that Devin Del Do redirected in the 54th and heading home a corner from Mulholland in the 57th. Shane Hill pushed the lead to three eight minutes later on a lengthy strike, a complete reversal of what Atlanta was thinking when they went to the spot in the 39th. But Diego Restrepo's save on Ruben Luna's penalty kept the Silverbacks off the board until Horace James finally beat the keeper in the 75th.

The Cosmos were also led to their victory with a two-goal effort. Diomar Diaz, however, netted both goals in the first half, scoring on a header from within the six at the 10-minute mark and doubling the advantage in the 33rd. The Cosmos have just one loss on the ledger after eight games and have allowed a league-low seven goals.

Carolina's hopes of staying with the Cosmos and Rowdies at the top of the table were dashed in the second half Saturday. Leading after 14 minutes courtesy of Kevin Rutkiewicz, the RailHawks saw the hosts pull even eight minutes into the second half when Hans Denissen found Tomasz Zahorski and snare the victory when Denissen later converted from the spot two minutes into stoppage time.

Minnesota joined Carolina in the second tier of teams with their third win of the campaign Sunday, extending host FC Edmonton's winless run to six games (0-1-5). A Callum Mallace 25 yard volley in the first half was followed up with Simone Bracalello tallying just after the hour mark as the visitors rolled to what looked like a shutout win before Daryl Fordyce played spoiler in stoppage time.

SATURDAY, September 21

Atlanta 1 :: 3 Tampa Bay
TB: Georgi Hristov (Devin Del Do) 54, Georgi Hristov (Luke Mulholland) 57, Shane Hill 65
ATL: Horace James (Shane Moroney) 75

New York 2 :: 0 Fort Lauderdale
NY: Diomar Diaz (Ayoze Perez) 10, Diomar Diaz 33
~ NY: Sebastian Guenzatti (second caution) 91+

Carolina 1 :: 2 San Antonio 
CAR: Kevin Rutkiewicz (Kenneth Walker) 14
SA: Tomasz Zahorski (Hans Denissen) 53, Hans Denissen (pen) 92+

SUNDAY, September 22

Minnesota 2 :: 1 Edmonton 
MIN: Callum Mallace 37, Simone Bracalello (Mike Ambersley) 62
EDM: Daryl Fordyce 90+

MLS Reserve League

Defender Anthony Wallace provided the only goal the Rapids Reserves needed in Portland for the win between two of the three bottom teams in the West Division, hitting on a 25-yard effort Saturday. The only other contest this week was a completely different affair in Columbus with the Crew and Fire reserve sides, two of the three bottom teams in the East, playing to a 3-3 draw in which Columbus took the lead three times only to see Daniel Paladini pull Chicago even each time - twice from the spot.

SATURDAY, September 21

Colorado 1 :: 0 Portland
COL: Anthony Wallace (Jaime Castrillon) 60

SUNDAY, September 22

Chicago 3 :: 3 Columbus
CLB: Ryan Finley 27
CHI: Daniel Paladini (pen) 42
CLB: Justin Meram 44
CHI: Daniel Paladini (Chris Rolfe) 45+
CLB: Ben Speas (Ethan Finlay) 67
CHI: Daniel Paladini (pen) 74

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