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NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE

June 3, 2016
NASL SATURDAY
A look at the upcoming games



New York Cosmos (6-3-0, 18 points) at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (3-2-3, 12 pts) @ Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 7 p,m. ET (ONE World Sports – U.S./ONEWorldSports.com – U.S., Canada/SFL-TV – Fort Lauderdale)
The Spring Season title is within reach for the New York Cosmos, but they first have to take care of business at Lockhart Stadium Saturday. Travelling for the Cosmos, though, hasn’t been particularly kind to them in recent weeks, with all three of their losses coming away from home. New York will head into the game against the Strikers with confidence, having never lost to Fort Lauderdale in the Modern Era. Danny Szetela has slotted into the midfield to make an impact since returning from injury, scoring the game-winning goal in the 1-0 win over Rayo OKC. Venezuelan star Juan Arango has become the team’s focal point with three goals and three assists.

The Strikers will could present some problems for the Cosmos after moving into sixth place in the Spring Season Standings on the strength of a four-game unbeaten run – with three wins. Since being inserted into the lineup, goalkeeper Diego Restrepo has been a key performer, standing between the goalposts during the unbeaten stretch. Defender Nana Attakora has also been a standout performer of late at both ends of the field.

Jacksonville Armada FC (1-5-2, 5 pts)at Carolina RailHawks (4-3-1, 13 pts) @ WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C. 7:30 p.m. ET (beIN SPORTS – U.S., Canada/ beIN SPORTS CONNECT – U.S., Canada/TWC SportsChannel – North & South Carolina/WRAL2 – Cary, Raleigh)
The Carolina RailHawks were on fire to start the Spring Season, but haven’t won since April 23. Carolina is coming off a bye week and it could be just what they needed to right the ship against Jacksonville Armada FC. The RailHawks are still in the title chase, but cannot drop any more points. They will also need some help to lift the first piece of silverware of the NASL season.

Jacksonville broke its scoreless streak last weekend with a long-distance strike from Matt Bahner to draw Indy Eleven, 1-1. Despite the club’s play not yielding very many positive results, it was a promising display against the league’s only unbeaten team. Danny Barrow has made an impact when he’s been called upon, while Bahner has grown tremendously since his first season with the Armada FC.

Ottawa Fury FC (2-4-2, 8 pts) at Tampa Bay Rowdies (3-2-3, 12 pts) @ Al Lang Stadium , St. Petersburg, Fla., 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN3 – U.S./NASL.com – Canada/BHSN 1147 – Tampa Bay/Rogers TV – Ottawa)
The Tampa Bay Rowdies return to league play at Al Lang Stadium with momentum after handing Minnesota United its first home loss in 2016. Joe Cole shone with a goal and an assist up north, and the Rowdies’ back line slowed down a strong Minnesota attack to preserve a shutout in the 2-0 win.

Ottawa Fury FC will feel hard done by after not finding any points after a strong attacking display in their recent 2-1 loss to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Fury FC now heads back out on the road after four successive league home games. Ottawa has earned only one point on the road in the Spring Season, but they have looked more cohesive in recent weeks as the team continues to learn Coach Paul Dalglish’s system.

Indy Eleven (3-0-5, 14 pts) at Miami FC 1-4-3, 6 pts) @ Ocean Bank Field, Miami, Fla., 8 p.m. ET (ESPN 3 – U.S./GolTV – U.S./NASL.com – Canada)
After earning its first ever win and first home win on the same night, Miami FC remains at Ocean Bank Field to host unbeaten Indy Eleven. Cuban international Ariel Martinez has been a sparkplug for Miami, and he scored on a stunning effort to lift his side to a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton. The additions of Richie Ryan and Michael Lahoud have shored up the club’s midfield as Miami (has had two strong league performances in a row.

Indy was able to pull out a draw against Jacksonville to remain undefeated in its last contest. Justin Braun is finding his goalscoring touch with goals in back-to-back games. The Eleven must win in Miami if they are to have a chance at remaining in the Spring season title hunt.

Minnesota United (4-3-1, 14 pts) at Rayo OKC (2-4-2, 8 pts) @ Miller Stadium, Yukon, Okla., 8 p.m. ET (ESPN 3 – U.S./NASL.com – Canada/Cox Channel 703 – Oklahoma City/MY29 – Twin Cities)
Rayo OKC and Minnesota United are both hoping to get back on track when they meet at Miller Stadium. Rayo OKC will be without four key players, with Michel, Billy Forbes, Georgios Samaras (red cards) and Derek Boateng (yellow-card accumulation) all suspended for the game against the Loons. Rayo OKC is coming off a 1-0 loss to the New York Cosmos, but the club will look to have a strong finish to its first taste of the Spring Season with two games remaining.

Minnesota has lost two league games in a row, but is still in the running for the Spring Season title. The Loons, though, need a win and some help to lift up the silverware. Justin Davis returns to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a red card, and will be a boost to both the club’s defense and attack. Minnesota has one of the strongest attacks in the league with 13 goals scored, and it will provide a stern test for the Rayo OKC back line.


   
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