Miami Sports Day

NASL: Miami, New York Among Those Chasing First-Place Jacksonville

Jacksonville Armada FC may have the lead atop the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season Standings going into Week 7, but several clubs are, all of a sudden, hot on the trail of the league leaders.

The New York Cosmos have the best opportunity to overtake first-place Armada FC, but they will have to get past a steady, unbeaten Jacksonville side that will be playing in front of its home fans at Hodges Stadium.

Just a half hour after kickoff in Jacksonville, the three other Week 7 contests will get underway in Puerto Rico, Indy, and North Carolina. Miami FC will aim to continue its strong attacking play when the club visits Puerto Rico FC, while Indy Eleven will seek to extend its unbeaten run at home against FC Edmonton.

Rounding out the matchups on Saturday night, in-form North Carolina FC will play host to the San Francisco Deltas, who will attempt to shake off their first loss.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. New York Cosmos
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 6
Hodges Stadium | Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville Armada FC heads into the weekend holding onto its first-place position in the Spring Season Standings, but several clubs are breathing down its neck. One of those sides is the New York Cosmos, who are unbeaten in their last seven road contests, dating back to last year. Jacksonville is one of two unbeaten sides remaining in the NASL, and Armada FC already earned a positive result – a 1-1 draw away from home – against the defending champions earlier this season. Jacksonville midfielder J.C. Banks canceled out Spanish veteran Javi Márquez’s tally to earn a point in Brooklyn two weeks ago. Banks, along with Jack Blake, who had an assist in Jacksonville’s 1-1 draw with Indy Eleven last weekend, has been playing a key role in the midfield for the club.

New York’s confidence is growing after handing the San Francisco Deltas their first loss in league play last weekend. Emmanuel Ledesma made his first Cosmos appearance in the victory, and left quite an impression with a stellar chip to score the lone goal in the contest. Márquez, who scored in the last meeting against Armada FC, has been pulling the strings as the side’s most dangerous player going forward so far. With a win, the Cosmos can leapfrog Jacksonville in the standings, currently sitting just a point behind.

Puerto Rico FC vs. Miami FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 6
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium | Bayamón, PR

Puerto Rico FC had an eight-game unbeaten streak at home going into last weekend, but the club saw it come to an end thanks to a 1-0 loss to North Carolina FC. Adrian Whitbread’s side will now look to rebound against Miami FC. To get points, Puerto Rico will need to slow down a Miami attack that has created the most chances (67) and fired off the most shots (84). Puerto Rico will hope its own chances start resulting in more balls finding the back of the net. The club has generated the second most chances (50) and shots (65) in the NASL. Pito Ramos still leads the team in goals with two.

Miami is inching closer to first place in the standings after a resounding 2-0 win over FC Edmonton a weekend ago. Miami now trails Jacksonville by a point in the table. Kwadwo Poku and Dylan Mares have been the driving force, creating 15 chances apiece. Poku scored in the recent win, while Mares had an assist. Miami is unbeaten on the road to start the year, with a win and a draw, and also had success in its last visit to the Caribbean, defeating Puerto Rico, 3-0, last season.

Indy Eleven vs. FC Edmonton
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 6
Carroll Stadium | Indianapolis, Ind.

Indy Eleven has been unbeatable in its last 20 games at Carroll Stadium, setting an NASL Modern Era record after its scoreless draw with the San Francisco Deltas two weeks ago. Draws have been a common theme for the Boys in Blue, who now have five in a row to open the campaign, following last week’s 1-1 affair with Jacksonville. Justin Braun has certainly been a bright spot, leading the league with three goals and also chipping in with two assists. Seemingly ageless, Mexican veteran Gerardo Torrado, who just turned 38, has been a steady force for the club in the middle of the midfield.

FC Edmonton has a chance to right the ship and get a bit of revenge after falling to Indy in The Championship Semifinals last year at Carroll Stadium. The Eddies are off to a tough start this year having picked up just one win in five games. To make matters worse, the club has lost six straight away contests in regular-season play, dating back to last year. Salvadoran international Dustin Corea has been a focal point of the club’s attack, and he showcased his abilities in the club’s only victory, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He has created eight chances, to go along with 24 crosses, a mark that is the third most in the NASL.

North Carolina FC vs. San Francisco Deltas
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 6
Sahlen’s Stadium | Cary, N.C.

After snapping an 11-game winless streak on the road with a 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico FC, North Carolina FC heads back to Sahlen’s Stadium sitting just one point behind Jacksonville Armada FC. Lance Laing continues to shine for the club, adding his second assist of the year last weekend. At the other end of the field, young goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre continues to frustrate opposing forwards, making five saves last weekend. Sylvestre is also tied for the most saves in the league with 21.

The San Francisco Deltas were handed a feeling they had yet to feel as a club: defeat. San Francisco fell to the New York Cosmos, 1-0, for its first loss in league play. It has been on the road that the Deltas back line has been particularly stingy. The club has yet to concede a goal on the road, picking up a pair of draws on its travels so far. San Francisco will look to repeat its first performance against North Carolina – a 3-1 victory at Kezar Stadium for the club’s first ever win.

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