Just two points separate four teams from the top spot in the North American Soccer League standings going into Week 10 as every match matters in the 2013 Spring Season.
Current league leader Atlanta Silverbacks has an opportunity to pull away from the pack, while Carolina RailHawks, Minnesota United FC, and Tampa Bay Rowdies all have the chance dethrone them.
The RailHawks return to WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, June 8, where they will put their season’s unblemished home record on the line when the defending NASL champion Tampa Bay Rowdies come to visit Cary, N.C. at 7:00 pm ET. The last meeting between the two sides, who are the remaining NASL representatives in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, ended in a scoreless draw in the opening match of the 2013 campaign on April 6
“Every game from here on is big,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “We need to make sure we take care of business at home. Tampa Bay is a good team, they are well organized and work hard for each other. It’s always a fun game, tough game, but fun. They are the reigning champs and we want to dethrone them.”
The Rowdies, looking for a first regular season victory against Carolina ten attempts, are currently undefeated on the road this season, with three wins and a draw.
“It is a huge test for us as we will be facing one of the top teams in the league,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “This will be our second meeting this year, with our first encounter being an exciting draw in the home opener. With the new league format, every match matters and as we reach the final stretch it is very important that we begin to pick up every point. We know we have a U.S. Open Cup match on Wednesday, but we can’t get ahead of ourselves as this Saturday’s match is vital for our aspirations to win the Spring Season."
Also on Saturday, the Silverbacks will aim to stay on top of the NASL standings when they host FC Edmonton at the Atlanta Silverbacks Park at 7:30 pm ET. The Eddies have won seven out of nine encounters against the Silverbacks including the last meeting which ended 3-0 in favor of the Canadian side on May 12 at Clarke Stadium. Atlanta is also looking for its first victory against Edmonton at home.
“We’re looking at every game as if it’s a playoff game,” said Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes. “Sure, we have gotten off to a good start this season, but there is still a lot of soccer to be played. As far as I’m concerned, we’re going to take it one game at a time and focus on what we need to do, not what the other teams are doing.”
FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller commented prior to leaving for Atlanta: “We’ve got it all to play for on Saturday and the lads are up for it. The Silverbacks are a tough side to beat at home so we’ll have to be at our best but despite dropping points at home last week, we’ve had a great week of training and thanks to the parity in the league this year, we still have a shot at first.”
Rounding out the NASL Week 10 action will be another Saturday night match-up when the Fort Lauderdale Strikers travel to Minneapolis and the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to take on Minnesota United FC at 8:00 pm. The last meeting between the pair had the Strikers posting a 2-1 win at LockhartStadium on May 11.
In Fort Lauderdale’s last four visits to Minnesota, the Strikers have won twice, drawn one and loss one against United FC.
Week Ten Schedule (All kickoff times US EST)
Saturday, June 8
Carolina RailHawks vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C., 7:00pm
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. FC Edmonton
Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Atlanta, Ga., 7:30pm
Minnesota United FC vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn., 8:00 pm
Bye week: San Antonio Scorpions
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