With just one day to go ... the quest to capture the third oldest professional soccer prize in the United States begins this weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, San Antonio and New York as the North American Soccer League 2014 spring season kicks off with all the matches live on NASLlive.com.
Here's a preview of each match for this upcoming spring season's Week 1 schedule:
Saturday, April 12
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Ottawa Fury FC
The Fort Lauderdale Strikers welcome the newest Canadian club, Ottawa Fury FC, as they meet for the first time at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET with encounter also be broadcast on radio in Fort Lauderdale – Sofloradio.com - and in Ottawa – TSN 1200. After a disappointing start to 2013, the Strikers concluded last year with a strong showing that continued into the 2014 preseason where they won four out of their last five encounters, with their only loss in that stretch coming in an international friendly at Haiti against local side Don Bosco FC (2-0) last month. Meanwhile, Ottawa, which is the first team from the Canadian provinces of Ontario in the history of the NASL in three decades, prepared for its inaugural year with an unbeaten record during its preseason. The Fury’s matches included two international friendlies against U.S. clubs in March as Ottawa drew 1-1 at the Rochester Rhinos of USL PRO and then posted a 2-1 win road victory against the PDL side Floridians FC.
“In all my years of coaching, it’s always the same; until you step on the field for your first game of the season, you don’t know 100 percent how the team is going to play. It’s going to be even tougher this game, because Ottawa is a new team and we’ve never seen them play. I do know that they have some good players so they should be a pretty good team.” – Strikers’ Günter Kronsteiner
“We are preparing for every game like it is a final. Every team in the league went and made themselves better in the offseason and with only nine games in the spring season we must be competitive every weekend starting this Saturday against Fort Lauderdale” – Fury FC’s Marc Dos Santos
Indy Eleven vs. Carolina RailHawks
Indy Eleven makes its NASL debut when it hosts the Carolina RailHawks at an excepted sold out Michael A. Carroll Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET and it will be locally on MyINDY TV-23. The RailHawks, who ended last year with the best overall record but missed out on the spring and fall championships, aim for redemption in 2014. Carolina also looks use its momentum from 2013 that sparked a 16-game unbeaten streak at its home field of WakeMed Soccer Park. Meanwhile, Indy was the first club to commence matches this year posted a strong preseason. Indy Eleven becomes the first-ever team from the state of Indiana to compete in the NASL.
“The RailHawks are a mature, seasoned NASL club and Colin has assemble a good team over the years. They play a high level of soccer and I know he (Colin) will be bringing a competitive team. It will be a great environment with a sold out crowd.” – Indy Eleven’s Juergen Sommer
“We are ready to get the season started. It’s going to be important to make sure we start the nine-game spring season on with a good result. From what I read it sounds like it’s going to be a fun environment to play in and we look forward to creating a new rivalry within the league.” – RailHawks’ Colin Clarke
Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. FC Edmonton
FC Edmonton travels south to take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET and live on local TV at WTTA Great 38. The Rowdies are coming off the second-best overall record from the combined two seasons last year and continued their build-up going unbeaten during the 2014 preseason that included a 1-1 draw against the visiting Icelandic club Valur FC in an international friendly last month. Tampa Bay, which is also looking to once again claim the NASL title won in 2012, leads the head-to-head series against Edmonton, however the Eddies are unbeaten in the last four meetings against the Rowdies. The last time both clubs faced off, Edmonton goals from forward Daryl Fordyce and midfielder Robert Garrett for a 2-1 victory at Clarke Stadium on Oct. 27, 2013.
“They're always very resilient, very organized and very tough. They've tweaked things a little bit and brought in a few players who'll give their team a different dynamic. Having said that, we know they will be a hard side to beat. We expect to take the game to them because we're at home so we'll try and desperately try and get the three points.” – Rowdies’ Ricky Hill
“Tampa have had some great off season signings and seeing that this is their first home game of the season, they will have a good crowd there to watch. We’ve traditionally played well down in Tampa so it all leads to this being an exciting game on Saturday.” – FC Edmonton’ Colin Miller
San Antonio Scorpions vs. Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United FC visits the San Antonio Scorpions at Toyota Field in one of the fiercest NASL rivalries matchups. The encounter is set for 8:30 p.m. ET will be broadcast locally on MeTV KSAT 12.2. Both clubs are coming off a strong preseason showing in 2014. The Scorpions ended their preseason unbeaten after posting a 1-1 draw against the three-time CONCACAF champion Deportivo Saprissa of Costa Rica in San Antonio. Meanwhile, United had a successful English tour last month that was highlighted by a 3-0 triumph over local side Matlock Town FC and a strong showing in the loss (2-0) to Derby County FC. Minnesota has won three of the last five meetings against San Antonio including both matches during the fall campaign. In the last encounter between the two clubs, a second-half goal by forward Pablo Campos gave United a 1-0 win over the visiting Scorpions at the NSC Stadium on Sept. 28, 2013.
“The team and staff are thrilled about taking the pitch on Saturday in front of what is sure to be an electric San Antonio crowd. Competing against Minnesota has traditionally led to both memorable and fiercely contested matches.” – Scorpions’ Alen Marcina
“I think this is a good matchup. Over the years, we've had some intense battles and it's gone back and forth. I think it's going to be the same thing on Saturday. They have some speedy and technical players with experience in the league and they're going to be a challenge.” – United’s Manny Lagos
Sunday, April 13
New York Cosmos vs. Atlanta Silverbacks
A rematch from last year’s Soccer Bowl, with the defending NASL champion New York Cosmos hosting the Atlanta Silverbacks at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium at 5 p.m. ET, and will be broadcasted on ONE World Sports. Leading up to this NASL campaign, the Silverbacks ended their preseason with a six-game unbeaten streak, while the Cosmos traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and dropped two of three encounters against local clubs. The Cosmos, who currently have an 11-game unbeaten streak, have posted consecutive 1-0 victories over the Silverbacks in the last two meetings in Atlanta, including the NASL Soccer Bowl that gave New York its sixth championship this past November. The last time both clubs met in New York ended in a 1-1 draw on Sept. 8, 2013. Midfielder Marcos Senna gave the Cosmos the lead just before halftime with a penalty-kick goal, but defender Shane Moroney scored the equalizer for the Silverbacks in the second half.
“We have had a long preseason this year. We are looking forward to the start of our 2014 season against a quality opponent such as Atlanta at Hofstra Stadium this Sunday and defending our NASL title. We’ve added some quality players and we feel very confident in our team.” – Cosmos’ Giovanni Savarese
“Oddly enough, this will be our third straight game against the Cosmos dating back to last year, and the only advantage that I think we have is the fact that we know who they are, but they don’t know who we are. We’re a brand new team, and they haven’t seen a lot of our guys. It’s always a special occasion when you play against the Cosmos. Hopefully we can change our fortunes around this time and be on the other end of the result.” – Silverbacks’ Eric Wynalda
Soccer fans around the world will be able to ‘Watch Every Match Live’ throughout the 2014 North American Soccer League season, which kicks off on the weekend of April 12-13 in Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, New York, San Antonio and Tampa Bay.
By subscribing to either a 30-day pass or a season access pass at NASLLive.com, soccer fans can access all 135 matches during the 2014 NASL Spring and Fall Seasons.
Throughout the month of April, the NASL is offering a 10-day free trial to enjoy the weekly broadcasts as the league’s 10 teams battle to reach the postseason and compete in The Championship for the coveted Soccer Bowl trophy.