Minnesota United FC aims to stay perfect heading into NASL Week 4

The NASL leaders are off to a great start and they'll face off against Indy Eleven this weekend.
New York Cosmos, Fort Lauderdale Strikers and San Antonio Scorpions are separated by three points from the current leader and unbeaten Minnesota United FC in the North American Soccer League Spring Season Standings going into Week 4.  On the leader’s heels are the remaining six teams as they seek to remain in contention for the Spring Championship. Soccer fans can tune in to www.NASLlive.com this Saturday, May 3, to watch all five matches.

The intense race for the 2014 Spring Title continues on Saturday when two streaks are on the line at WakeMed Soccer Park at 7:30 pm ET as Carolina RailHawks, who have not lost at home in their last 17 games, greet the defending champion New York Cosmos, who currently have a six-game road unbeaten skid.

Cosmos and RailHawks met twice last year with Carolina winning the first encounter at home, 3-0 in August and then host New York took the second match 4-0 in October.  However, both clubs are coming off losses last week with RailHawks falling 4-0 on the road to Ottawa Fury FC, while Cosmos were defeated at home for the first time in three decades when they dropped a 1-0 decision to San Antonio Scorpions.

“Fans are going to get a great match on Saturday night,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “Both clubs are coming off weekends where they didn’t get the result and both will be looking to get back on track.  We look forward to getting back in front of our home crowd and defending our 17 match home unbeaten streak.”

Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese knows what’s at stake on Saturday:  “Every game is very difficult in the NASL.  Therefore, we need to be ready for a big match against Carolina, a team that is difficult, a team that needs to win; and for us it’s a crucial game.”

Another 7:30 pm ET encounter is set at Atlanta Silverbacks Park when the hosts takes on the expansion club Ottawa Fury FC in their first-ever meeting.

Silverbacks are coming off a 3-1 road victory at Tampa Bay Rowdies last week, while Fury FC posted their first NASL win against visiting RailHawks, however they were eliminated from the Amway Canadian Championship midweek, losing to FC Edmonton 3-1.

“We know how important every points are in a competitive league such as the NASL,” said Fury FC coach, Marc Dos Santos.  “Atlanta is always a difficult place to play, but we want to stay close to the Top teams and get every point possible.”

Looking to increase its lead in the Spring Standings, Minnesota United welcomes Indy Eleven for the first time in history at Blaine’s NSC Stadium on Saturday.

“We are definitely excited to be hosting an outstanding club like Indy Eleven at the National Sports Center,” said United coach, Manny Lagos, who’s club is also riding a five-game winning streak.  “They have played well on the field this year and we are looking forward to a good game in what is going to be an important game for both teams.”

Elsewhere, San Antonio looks for an advantage on to the head-to-head series against Tampa Bay when the two clubs face-off at Toyota Field at 8:30 pm ET.

Through eight NASL regular season encounters the Rowdies and Scorpions are level with each winning four matches, however Tampa Bay has taken the last two meetings against San Antonio.

“Tampa is a formidable opposition containing some exciting attacking players, but we've identified our goals and feel confident maintaining the same approach and intensity to continue progressing as a team,” said Scorpions coach Alen Marcina.  “We're looking forward to maintaining our form in front of our passionate supporters.”

Rounding out Saturday’s Week 4 encounters with Fort Lauderdale Strikers visiting FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium at 9:30 pm ET.

Edmonton, who will take on Montreal Impact in the Canadian Championship Semis starting next week, is currently in the bottom of the Spring Table with one point in three games and are winless in six encounters against Fort Lauderdale.

“Edmonton is always tough,” Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner, whose side has drawn in four of six previous meetings against the Eddies.  “It’s one of the hardest teams to travel to.  They’re very well organized defensively.

“Last place but doesn’t mean anything, they’re much better than the standings say. Our team is coming off a good win, but we need to stay focused and get points on the road.”

Soccer fans around the world will also be able to ‘Watch Every Match Live’ – all 135 NASL matches -- throughout the 2014 North American Soccer League season, including these Week 4 matches in Atlanta, Carolina, Minnesota, San Antonio and Edmonton, at www.NASLLive.com.  This past week the NASL extended the Free Trial to encompass the entire Spring Season.

NASL Week 4 Schedule¬ (All kickoff times US EST)

Saturday, May 3

Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Ottawa Fury FC
Atlanta Silverbacks Park; Atlanta, Ga. 7:30 pm

Carolina RailHawks vs. New York Cosmos
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C. 7:30 pm

Minnesota United FC vs. Indy Eleven
NSC Stadium; Blaine, Minn. 8:00 pm

San Antonio Scorpions vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Toyota Field; San Antonio, Tex.  8:30 pm

FC Edmonton vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Clarke Stadium; Edmonton, Alberta 9 pm