The Carolina RailHawks lead the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 at halftime thanks to two first half penalties converted by Floyd Franks and Brian Shriver.
And in Tampa Bay, the reigning NASL champion Rowdies hold a 3-1 advantage over the Atlanta Silverbacks through a strike from Evans Frimpong and a Luke Mulholland double.
The Strikers had taken the lead after only 8 minutes when Jemal Johnson received the ball on the edge of the area from Pecka and had time to turn and fire his finish past the despairing grasp of keeper Akira Fitzgerald. The home keeper had been sharp to deny Stefan Dimitrov after two minutes of play, but had no answer to Johnson’s finish.
A minute before Fort Lauderdale went in front, Franks had charged through middle as the visiting defenders backed off and was allowed to shoot from 25 yards out and his rising shot cannoned off the cross bar.
David Foley directed a diving header straight at Fitzgerald before Carolina started to press and Ty Shipalane, Zack Schilawski and Nick Millington all failed to apply a finishing touch after Shriver had played a teasing ball into the middle.
The half swung in the RailHawks’ favor in the 25th minute when an Austin Da Luz shot was handled and despite the ball ending up in the net a penalty was awarded. Skipper Franks sent keeper Matt Glaeser the wrong way to level the score then after 33 minutes after a push in the box by Toni Stahl, Shriver stepped up to take an identical penalty, to earn a 2-1 lead.
“We’re not pleased but we think we’re playing the better soccer right now,” said Striker coach Daryl Shore. “We had a couple of good chances where we didn’t do well with the final touch or the final finish. We have to tell our guys to be a little calmer in the attacking third.”
Ricky Hill’s Rowdies took the lead just eight minutes into their second home game of the NASL campaign as Frimpong chested down pass from Mulholland after great ball in from Amani Walker and looped a finish over keeper Joe Nasco with his first career goal for the Rowdies.
The Silverbacks were level through a Ruben Luna header on the end of a Borfor Carr cross with 23 minutes played, but less than a minute later a Georgi Hristov pull back from the byeline found Mulholland just outside the 18-yard box and his left foot drive made it 2-1.
Three minutes before halftime, Mulholland claimed his second goal and opened a 3-1 advantage for the Rowdies with a perfectly struck free kick that caught Nasco out of position from 25 yards out.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|