Miami Sports Day

NASL: Four Clubs Chasing Miami FC As Spring Season Passes Halfway Point

The North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season is heading into its second half with several key clashes scheduled for Week 10. Four clubs – North Carolina FC, Jacksonville Armada FC, New York Cosmos, and San Francisco Deltas – are breathing down the neck of league-leading Miami FC going into a weekend that features some intriguing matchups that could influence the Spring Season Championship race.

The Cosmos play host to the Deltas to get the action rolling on Saturday night at MCU Park. Kicking off shortly thereafter is a matchup at Riccardo Silva Stadium, where Miami, which has won its last four games, returns home to host Puerto Rico FC after snapping Indy Eleven’s record home unbeaten streak a weekend ago.

Also on Saturday, FC Edmonton is hoping to build some much-needed momentum in front of its home fans at Clarke Stadium. The club will host Indy, which has yet to win in league play. On Sunday, second-place North Carolina FC visits third-place Jacksonville Armada FC in a juicy matchup that features a lot of players in top form. Jacksonville will be aiming to exact revenge after suffering its first – and only – loss of the season at the hands of North Carolina.

Continue below for a preview of all of the matchups in Week 10:

New York Cosmos vs. San Francisco Deltas
7 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 27
MCU Park | Brooklyn, N.Y.
The New York Cosmos handed the San Francisco Deltas their first ever loss and the West Coast club now heads east looking to settle the score. The Deltas are looking to rebound after falling, 3-0, to Jacksonville Armada FC last Friday night. In their first season, the Deltas have played extremely well on their travels, so far posting an unbeaten record of 2W-2D-0L in their four games away from home. The club currently has a two-game winning streak on the road entering the matchup in New York.

The Cosmos earned a 4-3 victory over Puerto Rico FC in their last league contest, which came back on May 14. After the club’s opening-game loss, New York is unbeaten in its last six NASL contests. Midfielders Emmanuel Ledesma and Javi Márquez, both bringing experience from abroad to the club, have taken on key roles for the Cosmos. In New York’s last outing, Ledesma racked up a pair of assists as the Cosmos overturned a deficit against Puerto Rico. Also, in his first game as a Cosmos player, it was Ledesma’s moment of magic – a chip over the head of Deltas goalkeeper Romuald Peiser – that led to the visitors taking all three points in San Francisco.

Miami FC vs. Puerto Rico FC
7:30 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 27
Riccardo Silva Stadium | Miami, Fla.
There isn’t a hotter team in the league than Miami FC. The club has won four straight and most recently ended Indy Eleven’s record home unbeaten streak at 21 games. Vincenzo Rennella and Kwadwo Poku scored in the 2-0 win at Carroll Stadium. One of the wins during the club’s run came against its next opponent, Puerto Rico FC. Miami fought back late to score twice in the game’s final moments to grab all three points in the 2-1 victory on April 29.

Puerto Rico is sitting at the bottom of the Spring Season Standings, but the club has come incredibly close to accruing plenty of points. The club has held leads against Miami FC, New York Cosmos, and North Carolina FC in recent weeks, but it has been unable to seal the deal. Last weekend, Puerto Rico conceded two goals late to fall, 2-1, to North Carolina at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium. Puerto Rico, though, can get an instant shot of confidence if the side can manage a result in Miami, where the club earned its first ever road win in the 2016 Fall Season.

FC Edmonton vs. Indy Eleven
9 p.m. ET | Saturday, May 27
Clarke Stadium | Edmonton, Alberta
When FC Edmonton and Indy Eleven take the field on Saturday night, the two playoff sides from last year will both aim to jumpstart their campaigns. FC Edmonton lost its last meeting, 1-0, to the San Francisco Deltas back on May 14 at Clarke Stadium. Despite the loss, the Eddies looked more like themselves – an organized, counterattacking side. FC Edmonton grabbed a point in its last meeting with Indy, a scoreless draw at Carroll Stadium.

After six straight draws and two losses to Miami, including its first home loss in league play since October 2015, the Boys in Blue head into Edmonton trying to rebound. Indy was hit with injuries to open the campaign, but with several of those faces returning in recent weeks – Ben Speas, Don Smart, and Nemanja Vukovic – it gives coach Tim Hankinson the opportunity to put out a lineup that has almost returned to full strength. The club’s top scorer from last year, Eamon Zayed, is still trying to get back to fitness as well.

Jacksonville Armada FC vs. North Carolina FC
4 p.m. ET | Sunday, May 28
Hodges Stadium | Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacksonville Armada FC is coming off a huge road win, earning a 3-0 result against the San Francisco Deltas last Friday. Zach Steinberger was the star, scoring twice on headers before adding an assist later in the contest. After coming very close to scoring in previous weeks, young forward Derek Gebhard finally got off the mark, tallying the third goal in the victory. Back at home, Armada FC hosts North Carolina FC with a chance to avenge its only loss so far this season. Jacksonville was defeated, 3-1, in North Carolina two weeks ago.

North Carolina leapfrogged Jacksonville in the standings last Saturday night after late-game drama. Matt Fondy scored and then provided an assist to help North Carolina down Puerto Rico FC, 2-1, on the island. Forward Billy Schuler scored the game-winning goal and has been making a big impact of late. He has scored in three of his last four games in all competitions, with all of his strikes coming as a substitute. Schuler, though, started in the victory against Jacksonville and picked up an assist in the process. Overall, the club’s attack has been flourishing as it has produced at least one goal in every game to start the season.

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