Nine of 14 goals scored this past weekend were courtesy of foreign players.
For a second consecutive week, the league's overseas players have scored more than half of the goals during the Spring Season encounters, Saturday's Week 4 featured nine of the 14 total goals scored (65 percent) to highlight this edition of the NASL International Spotlight.
Belize international and CONCACAF's World Cup Qualifying leading scorer Deon McCaulay had his second goal of the season for Atlanta Silverbacks in the 2-1 victory over visiting Ottawa Fury FC at Atlanta Silverbacks Park. Palestine international defender Omar Jarun earned his first goal of the season when he scored late in the match for Fury FC in the loss.
Meanwhile, South African midfielder Ty Shipalane scored the game-winner for the hosts Carolina RailHawks in the 1-0 victory over New York Cosmos and extend the team's unbeaten at WakeMed Soccer Park to 18 consecutive matches.
Elsewhere during Week 4 action: English midfielder Shane Hill had the only goal for his club -- Tampa Bay Rowdies -- which earned their first win of the season by defeating San Antonio Scorpions at Toyota Field; Brazilian midfielder Daniel Mendes scored for the first-place and unbeaten Minnesota United FC in the 3-2 win against visiting Indy Eleven at NSC Stadium. Another Brazilian midfielder, Kléberson notched his second goal of the season via penalty kick for Indy late in the match; Midfielders Martin Nuñez of Uruguay and English native Mark Anderson added tallies for Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 3-1 road victory over FC Edmonton. Northern Ireland forward Daryl Fordyce had the only goal for the Eddies in the loss.
Every Monday throughout the 2014 Spring Season, the North American Soccer League (NASL) put its international stars - both coaches & players -- under the 'NASL International Spotlight' focusing on the league's overseas connections.
International Players/Coaches in 2014 North American Soccer League Spring Season Week 4:
Atlanta Silverbacks 2 Ottawa Fury FC 1 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park
Goalkeeper -- Eric Ati (Cameroon) earned his second consecutive victory.
Midfielders -- Junior Sandoval (Honduras) was seven minutes shy of a complete game before being substituted by Ferrety Sousa (Congo), while Junior Burgos (El Salvador) saw action in 65 minutes before being replaced by Kwadwo Poku (Ghana). Lucas Paulini (Argentina) came off the bench to play the final 11 minutes of the match.
Forwards -- Deon McCaulay (Belize) earned a full 90 and scored his second goal of the season.
Defenders -- Ramon Soria (Spain) played the entire match, while Omar Jarun (Palestine) came in off the bench in the 68th minute and scored the club's only tally.
Midfielders -- Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) saw action the entire game and assisted on the team's tally, while Hamza Elias (Ghana) played 81 minutes before being replaced.
Forward -- Vini Dantas (Brazil) earned another 90 minutes on the field.
Carolina RailHawks 1 New York Cosmos 0 at WakeMed Soccer Park
Defender -- Toni Stahl (Finland) played another complete game.
Midfielders -- Ty Shipalane (South Africa) scored the game-winner for the club before being substituted by Enzo Martinez (Uruguay) in the 83rd minute, while Cesar Elizondo (Costa Rica) created the scoring chance before being replaced by Uriah Bentick (Trinidad & Tobago) in the 70th minute. Jun Marques Davidson (Japan) and Nick Millington (Guyana) both earned another full 90.
Coach -- Colin Clarke (Northern Ireland) extends its unbeaten streak at home to 18 consecutive matches.
Defenders -- Rovérsio (Brazil) earned another complete game under his belt, while Ayoze (Spain) played 75 minutes before being substituted by Diomar Díaz (Venezuela) in 75th minute.
Midfielders -- Marcos Senna (Spain) saw action in the first half before being replaced at the start of the second stanza by Paulo Mendes (Brazil), while Joseph Nane (Cameroon) played 78 minutes before being substituted by Stefan Dimitrov (Bulgaria).
Forward -- Mads Stokkelien (Norway) earned another full 90 on the field.
Coach -- Giovanni Savarese (Venezuela) suffered his first loss of the season on the road.
Minnesota United FC 3 Indy Eleven 2 at NSC Stadium
Defenders -- Cristiano Dias (Brazil) and Tiago Calvano (Brazil) both played the whole game.
Midfielders -- Daniel Mendes (Brazil) scored a goal and added an assist during his 90 minutes on the field, while
Juliano Vicentini (Brazil) saw action in 71 minutes before being subbed out.
Forward -- Simone Bracalello (Italy) played 87 minutes and assisted on the team's first goal, however he had the misfortunate of scoring an own goal just before halftime.
Goalkeeper -- Kristian Nicht (Germany) played the entire match.
Defenders -- Jaime Frias (Mexico) and Erick Norales (Honduras) also earned a full 90.
Midfielders -- Walter Ramirez (Honduras) saw action in 59 minutes before being replaced, while Kléberson (Brazil) came in the game in the second half and scored the team's second goal via penalty kick. Corby Moore (England) also entered the game off the bench in the 73rd minute.
Forward -- Pedro Mendes (Brazil) saw action the whole game.
San Antonio Scorpions 0 Tampa Bay Rowdies 1 at Toyota Field
Defender -- Julius James (Trinidad & Tobago) played the whole match.
Midfielders -- Stephen DeRoux (Jamaica) and Richard Menjivar (El Salvador) each also earned another full 90.
Forwards -- Eric Hassli (France) saw action in 77 minutes before being replaced, while Danny Barrera (Colombia) got another full game under his belt. Sainey Touray (Gambia) came in off the bench in 68th minute.
Defenders--Takuya Yamada (Japan) earned a full 90.
Midfielders -- Shane Hill (England) had the team's game-winner, while Darel Russell (England) also played the entire match. Evans Frimpong (Ghana) saw action in 65 minutes before being substituted by Christophe Lallet (Sweden).
Forwards -- Georgi Hristov (Bulgaria) played 79 minutes before being replaced by JP Rodrigues (Guyana), while Lucky Mkosana (Zimbabwe) came in off the bench in the 49th minute.
Coach -- Ricky Hill (England) earns his first victory of the season.
FC Edmonton 1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 3 at Clarke Stadium
Defenders -- Lance Laing (Jamaica) and Albert Watson (Northern Ireland) both earned another full 90 under their belts.
Midfielders -- Ritchie Jones (England) also played the whole game, while Horace James (Jamaica) saw action in the first half before being substituted by Daryl Fordyce (Northern Ireland) at the start of the second stanza as Daryl scored the club's only goal.
Forwards -- Tomi Ameobi (England) assisted on the team's only tally before being replaced in the 76th minute.
Goalkeeper -- Oka Nikolov (Germany) made four key saves for his third victory of the season.
Defenders -- Rafael Alves (Brazil) and Ivan Guerrero (Honduras) both played the entire match.
Midfielders -- Martin Nuñez (Uruguay) scored the club's first goal before being subbed out in the 84th minute, while Mark Anderson (England) notched the team's third tally via penalty kick before being replaced in the 80th minute. Chris Nurse (Guyana) played another full 90 on the field.
Coach -- Gunter Kronsteinter (Austria) earned his third win of the season.
MINNESOTA UNITED FC SIGNS AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER RICHARD GARCIA
Minnesota United FC today announced it has signed former English Premier League and recent Australian National Team midfielder Richard Garcia. Garcia joins Minnesota for the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season.
“We are excited to add a player with the experience that Richard Garcia brings to the table,” said United Head Coach, Manny Lagos. “He has been a player that’s had a great career all over the globe and we are thrilled to add someone of his quality to our team.”
The 32-year-old 5’11” Garcia has made 18 appearances for the Australian National Team, including the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and 2014 World Cup qualifying matches. The versatile midfielder moved to England to join the famed West Ham Academy and spent his first twelve seasons in England, including two seasons in the English Premier League with Hull City and the English Championship League with West Ham United, Hull and Colchester. In 2012-13, Garcia signed a 1-year contract with the Melbourne Heart in Australian A-League, where he scored six goals and tallied four assists, earning the club’s MVP, Golden Boot and Supporter’s Player of the Year awards.
"This is a great opportunity for me to continue playing uninterrupted from the A-League season, and I am very excited to join Minnesota United FC with the goal to help the club secure a spot in the NASL Championship,” said Garcia. “I have been paying close attention to the team from Australia and am pleased that the club has set a high standard securing the full twelve points so far in the NASL Spring season.”
Garcia joins United after playing with Sydney FC in the top league in Australia where he played alongside current United defender and 2014 offseason signing Tiago Calvano. Garcia is the first player on Minnesota’s roster who has played in a World Cup and the Premier League.
Garcia, on playing with Calvano: "I expect my transition to be much easier after playing with Tiago at Sydney this past season. Our wives became friendly and children are similar ages. Tiago has already been a great help providing a strong recommendation about the club and local community. I cannot wait to join my teammates and look forward to meeting everyone in Minnesota.”
“It’s nice to bring in a player who has played at the highest level and represented his country in the biggest soccer tournament in the world,” said Lagos. “I think that’s unique in itself to have a player like that come to Minnesota, but first and foremost we are excited to get a good quality person and player.”
The addition of Garcia will help bolster the Minnesota attack after losing star forward, Pablo Campos to a knee injury in the preseason. Garcia marks Minnesota’s 10th signing since the end of the 2013 NASL campaign.