Expect a feast of goals to be on the menu this Saturday evening when the fourth week of North American Soccer League action kicks off.
The league’s leading scorer Brian Shriver returns to his home hunting ground with the Carolina RailHawks to face a Minnesota United FC side led by in-form Pablo Campos, while deadly San Antonio Scorpions strike pair Hans Denissen and Tomasz Zahorski go up against a New York Cosmos offensive threat that looks set to unleash goals. And in Tampa Bay, the Rowdies have Georgi Hristov on seven goals for the year, including two from when Ricky Hill’s side hit seven to open the fall campaign.
In Atlanta, the Silverbacks, who sit in third place and remain unbeaten since winning the NASL Spring Season title and the right to host NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 on November 9, take on a Fort Lauderdale Strikers side buzzing after winning for the first time last week under new coach Gunter Kronsteiner.
The Cosmos return to Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University on at 7pm ET Saturday aiming to return to winning ways against a Scorpions side looking for their first points of the North American Soccer League 2013 Fall Season, despite the offensive firepower at their disposal.
Giovanni Savarese’s side made a triumphant return to the NASL on August 3 with a dramatic injury time winner to claim a 2-1 win over old rival the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, but have since drawn away to the Tampa Bay Rowdies and lost at the Carolina RailHawks. The Scorpions are looking to overcome three defeats in their first-ever clash with the Cosmos.
There is no shortage of potential goal scorers available to both coaches as they look to find the net. Scorpions forward Hans Denissen has ten goals so far in 2013, with three coming in the fall, and in the race for the NASL Golden Boot is currently just behind Carolina’s league top scorer Shriver, who has 11 goals. The Dutchman is partnered by new Polish striker Tomasz Zahorski, who has hit the net three times in the fall, but is also yet to finish on the winning side.
“The match against the New York Cosmos is an exciting game, and I hope that we will be playing better at that time,” said Scorpions coach Tim Hankinson. “Right now our possession is disrupted too easily, so getting guys on the same page is a challenge. However, we aim to find ourselves in New York this weekend.”
The Cosmos boast Italian striker Alessandro Noselli, whose late winner claimed three points in front of an 11,929 excited fans on opening weekend and Bosnian Perica Marosevic, who also found the net in the win. Spanish stars Marcos Senna and Ayoze would both have got off the scoring mark but for coming up against some top class goalkeeping.
“San Antonio is a very hungry team right now and we know they’re going to come in here one hundred percent motivated to get the result,”said Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese. “I expect a very tough match, but we’re prepared and our players know this is a very important game for us. Coming home after a couple games away, we want a good result for the fans as well.”
Also at 7pm ET, the Carolina RailHawks protect the fortress that is WakeMed Soccer Park to defend an assault on their place at the top of the NASL standings from Minnesota United FC, who last week came within seconds of a second straight win, but conceded a goal in injury time to draw with Tampa Bay.
The RailHawks boast the free-scoring Brian Shriver, whose two goals fired them to the summit last week, while United FC are not shy in front of goal either. Brazilian Pablo Campos, who scored 12 goals in 26 games when he wore RailHawks colors back in 2011, has six goals in total in 2013 and has scored in his team’s last two games.
“It is going to be a great challenge for us to emotionally come back from a game that we tied, but obviously feels like a loss,” said Minnesota coach Manny Lagos. “It is certainly even more challenging going on the road now, not only playing against one of the better teams in the league, but in a place that is tough to play.”
The Tampa Bay Rowdies have been held to two draws since a dramatic come-from-behind 7-4 win over San Antonio and return to Al Lang Stadium in St Petersburg at 7.30pm ET to welcome a FC Edmonton side that has conceded less than a goal per game in 2013.
“Coming off last weekend's draw, we have worked hard this week to improve our offensive presence in our matches,” said Rowdies coach Ricky Hill. “FC Edmonton is a team that has been improving week after week and in our recent matches they have proven to be a strong side. We hope we can give our fans a win at home, something that we have been struggling with this season.”
Along with the RailHawks and Rowdies, the Atlanta Silverbacks are one of only three teams unbeaten this fall season and at Silverbacks Park at 7.30pm ET, take on a Fort Lauderdale Strikers team riding high after grabbing their first win last weekend.
“They’re going to come into our place, and we’re going to try and take the game to them,” said Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes. “It’s not the same team, and they have a new coach. As a player myself, I remember playing really hard for my new coach and I know that’s going to be the situation. Any given day, any team can win, so we need to be prepared to play our best soccer.”
New Strikers coach Gunter Kronsteiner said: “Atlanta is one of the best teams in the league, so it will not be an easy away game for us, we know this, but we got some confidence from the last win. We hope this confidence will help us overcome some of these challenges and we can return with a good result.”
Week 4 Schedule (All kickoff times US EST)
Saturday, August 24
Carolina RailHawks vs. Minnesota United FC
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C. 7:00 pm
New York Cosmos vs. San Antonio Scorpions
James M. Shuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y. 7:00 pm
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga. 7:30 pm
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton
Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 pm
All games will be streamed live and can be watched via the NASL official website www.NASL.comand at each respective team website.
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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|