Miami Sports Day

NASL: Home Openers In Miami, Edmonton Lead Way Saturday

After a flurry of goals last weekend, the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season rolls on this Saturday with a lineup of four evening tilts.

Fans in Miami and Edmonton will be treated to their first home game of the year when Miami FC squares off against the New York Cosmos and FC Edmonton welcomes Jacksonville Armada FC to Clarke Stadium.

Elsewhere on Saturday night, the San Francisco Deltas host North Carolina FC after each club earned a draw in its first game of the season. Indy Eleven heads to Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium after a wild draw last weekend against Puerto Rico FC.

Puerto Rico FC vs. Indy Eleven
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 8
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium | Bayamón, P.R.

Puerto Rico FC and Indy Eleven entertained the fans with a six-goal thriller last weekend at Carroll Stadium, splitting the points in a 3-3 draw. The two sides now face off on Saturday still seeking their first win of the year. Both clubs have drawn their first two games to open up the 2017 season. Justin Braun is coming off a two-goal, one-assist performance, while Ben Speas has gotten off to a quick start in his first season with the Boys in Blue, adding a goal and an assist through the first two contests.

For Puerto Rico FC, Pito Ramos continues to be the focal point of the attack, racking up a goal and an assist last weekend and creating six total scoring opportunities over the course of the first two weeks. The club has shown its attacking intent, hitting the target with 10 shots, the most in the league so far. Entering the game at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, it’s the defensive area that will need extra attention for both sides.

Miami FC vs. New York Cosmos
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 8
Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.

Miami FC made an early statement with a resounding win in the New York Cosmos’ home opener. The Cosmos will now look for a bit of revenge after a 3-0 loss, facing off against Miami in its home opener. To get a better result, New York will need to get its attack in the right gear. Through two games, the Cosmos have yet to put a single shot on target. New York has had success in South Florida, though, winning its two previous trips to Miami during the 2016 season.

Miami has gotten off to a lightning-fast start with four points to start the year. Dylan Mares started the scoring last Saturday with a half-volley before an own goal and late Stefano Pinho goal sealed all there points for the visitors. It should be a festive environment on Saturday at the newly-named Riccardo Silva Stadium, where several improvements to the facility have gotten underway, including a new scoreboard and a state-of-the-art field.

FC Edmonton vs. Jacksonville Armada FC
9 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 8
Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta

Jacksonville Armada FC earned a season-opening victory over FC Edmonton last Sunday when the opportunistic J.C. Banks intercepted a pass at midfield and fired home a great solo effort. Banks was just one of the club’s new additions who made an impact in the opening game, with defender Aaron Pitchkolan and midfielder Jack Blake looking particularly sharp. Zach Steinberger, who has signed a permanent deal with Armada FC after joining on loan last year, controlled the tempo on Sunday and will look to cement himself as the club’s playmaker.

FC Edmonton nearly earned a point on the road to begin the campaign, producing a strong defensive performance aside from one slip-up in the 71st minute. At home for the first time in the 2017 season, the Eddies will look to mark their intent to get back to The Championship, the league’s four-club postseason tournament. New signing Netan Sansara showed in the opener that he will not only keep the Eddies’ tradition of tough defending intact, but he will also be a threat down the flank in games to come.

San Francisco Deltas vs. North Carolina FC
10 p.m. ET | Saturday, April 8
Kezar Stadium | San Francisco, Calif.
The San Francisco Deltas will be back in front of their home fans after earning a 1-1 draw against Indy Eleven at Kezar Stadium on March 25. Canadian international Kyle Bekker scored the first goal in the club’s history as the Deltas put on a positive display in their first league game, giving coach Marc Dos Santos’ men plenty to build from against North Carolina FC.

North Carolina played to a 1-1 draw as well, earning a point against Miami FC at Sahlen’s Stadium. Forward Matt Fondy got off to a dream start, scoring the first goal of the 2017 season just four minutes into the game. North Carolina FC’s attack has the firepower to test the Deltas’ back line, making for a fun matchup to watch on Saturday night.

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