It was a late, late show in the North American Soccer League on Saturday night as the race to host Soccer Bowl 2013 took a dramatic twist and turn in the closing minutes of two games played in Florida. The team that wins the 2013 Spring Season will earn the right to host the NASL championship game in November against the winner of the Fall campaign.
Atlanta Silverbacks midfielder Richie Menjivar kept his nerve to slot home a last minute penalty to earn his side a 1-0 victory away to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and send Brian Haynes’ side top of the NASL standings – at least for the time being. The Carolina RailHawks can return to pole position with a win away to FC Edmonton on Sunday at 4pm ET (watch on NASL.com/live and Rogers Sportsnet In Canada.)
Defending champion Tampa Bay battled back to equalize late in front of 4,595 fans against the San Antonio Scorpions, only to lose 2-1 to an 88th minute Hans Denissen strike, meaning the Rowdies have still not won at home this season in league action.
The loss could have greater implications for Tampa Bay. If Carolina wins in Canada on Sunday, the Rowdies will be eliminated from Soccer Bowl hosting contention. By contrast, the Scorpions stayed alive in the race with the win and will play two of three remaining games at home.
“It’s a great three points on the road,” said Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson. “They put a lot of pressure on us so our guys really had to stand up to it. I think there are a lot of good things ahead.”
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers knew they needed to win going into the weekend and are eliminated from the opportunity to host Soccer Bowl with the loss to Atlanta.
Saturday, June 15 – North American Soccer League Week Eleven Results
Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 San Antonio Scorpions 2
Game recap: http://www.nasl.com/index.php?id=3&newsid=4814
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0 Atlanta Silverbacks 1
Game recap: http://www.nasl.com/index.php?id=3&newsid=4813
Playing Sunday, June 16:
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
Bye week: Minnesota United FC
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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|