July 15, 2016
A look at the upcoming games
Carolina RailHawks (1-1-0, 3 points) at Fort Lauderdale Strikers (0-2-1, 1 pts) @ Lockhart Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 7 p.m. ET (ESPN3 - U.S./NASL.com- Canada/SFL-TV - Fort Lauderdale/TWC SportsChannel - North+South Carolina/WRAL2 - Cary+Raleigh)
The Carolina RailHawks take to the road after an incredible week that started with a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Then, the RailHawks played West Ham United to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday night and announced Mexican star Omar Bravo as the club's newest signing at halftime - Bravo played the final 10 minutes in the friendly. One of Carolina's other recent signings, Matt Fondy, was a catalyst in the RailHawks' first win since April, scoring and playing a part in earning two penalties against Tampa Bay. The club's captain, Nazmi Albadawi, has continued to shine with his two tallies against Tampa Bay, while adding his sixth assist (tied for most in the league).
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers will need to pick themselves up after a tough result on Wednesday night that started with a lengthy weather delay and ended with a 3-0 loss to Indy Eleven. The club has now lost back-to-back games, but will want to pick up momentum this weekend ahead of its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal matchup against the Chicago Fire of MLS. The Strikers defeated Carolina, 3-1, in the Spring Season.
Puerto Rico FC (0-1-2, 2 pts) at Tampa Bay Rowdies (0-1-1, 1 pt) @ Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla. 7:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network - U.S./WAPA 2 Deportes - Puerto Rico)
The Tampa Bay Rowdies had to dust themselves off after a tough 4-1 road loss to the Carolina RailHawks. The club conceded two penalties in the second half of the game, making it difficult to climb back. Forward Georgi Hristov has continued to find the back of the net as one of the Rowdies' recent bright spots, scoring in three of his last four games. The Rowdieswere without stalwart defenders Tamika Mkandawire and Neill Collins in the recent loss and will hope the center back pairing can return to the lineup against Puerto Rico FC.
For the visitors to Al Lang Stadium, Puerto Rico FCnearly claimed its first NASL victory, but let a two-goal lead slip late against Rayo OKC to draw 2-2. Puerto Rican international Héctor Ramos scored once more, his third time in as many games. Puerto Rico has one more shot at picking up its first road points before returning to Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium next weekend.
Jacksonville Armada FC (1-1-1, 4 pts) at Miami FC (0-1-1, 1 pt) @ Ocean Bank Field, Miami, Fla. 8 p.m. ET (ESPN3 - U.S./NASL.com - Canada/GolTV - U.S./CW17 - Jacksonville)
Florida rivals Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada FC meet with both rosters recently undergoing changes. Miami FC added another midfielder, this time Jonny Steele - previously of Ottawa - to add more depth alongside Kwadwo Poku, Michael Lahoud, and Richie Ryan (all midseason acquisitions). Alessandro Nesta's men have looked much improved in the Fall Season, but fell prey to a late goal to lose to the New York Cosmos, 3-2, last Saturday.
Jacksonville will have a quick turnaround after its own loss to the Cosmos - 3-0 on Wednesday night - that cooled the Armada FC's hot start to the Fall Season. Jason Plumhoff, Zach Steinberger, and Karl Ouimette are all recent additions that have received significant minutes. The Armada FC picked up its first win during Tony Meola's coaching tenure against Miami FC with a 2-1 victory in the Spring Season.
Indy Eleven (2-0-1, 7 pts) at Minnesota United (1-1-0, 3 pts) @ NSC Stadium, Blaine, Minn. 8 p.m. ET (beIN SPORTS - U.S., Canada/ beIN SPORTS CONNECT - U.S., Canada/MY29 - Twin Cities)
Indy Eleven and Minnesota United met just one week ago, at Carroll Stadium, and face off again, this time at NSC Stadium, after a hard-fought 1-0 result that went in the Boys in Blue's favor. The Eleven picked up another win - a 3-0 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Wednesday night - to extend the club's unbeaten run to 13 games, tying a league-best mark. Eamon Zayed inched closer to Minnesota forward Christian Ramirez's league-leading eight goals, sitting just one behind after his midweek tally.
The Loons, who saw a ball cleared off the line and had a penalty kick saved in their last meeting with Indy, do have a knack for ending long streaks. Last year, the club knocked off Ottawa Fury FC when the Canadian club was looking to extend its own unbeaten streak to 13. Ramirez will once again be the focal point of the attack and will have a little extra hunger to return to the scoresheet after Indy goalkeeper Jon Busch saved his PK attempt in the recent loss.
New York Cosmos (3-0-0, 9 pts) at Rayo OKC (1-0-2, 5 pts) @ Miller Stadium, Yukon, Okla. 9 p.m. ET (ESPN3 - U.S./NASL.com - Canada/ONE World Sports - U.S./ONEWorldSports.com - U.S., Canada/Cox Channel 703 - Oklahoma City)
Rayo OKC showed its fighting spirit to overturn a two-goal deficit to draw Puerto Rico FC, 2-2, on Wednesday night. Sebastian Velasquez and Michel, who leads the club with six goals, found the back of the net in the draw. Rayo OKC is unbeaten in its last three contests at home (two draws, one win) as the New York Cosmos travel to Miller Stadium for the first time.
The Cosmos maintained their perfect home and Fall Season record in midweek action against Jacksonville Armada FC. Several players have emerged during the three-game winning streak, including Lucky Mkosana (three goals, one assist), David Diosa and Andrés Flores (one goal, one assist each). New York, though, has had its troubles on the road and heads into the meeting with Rayo OKC looking for its first road win outside of Miami, where the club has won twice.