The NASL spring season is approaching an end, and New York's Mads Stokkelien and San Antonio's Billy Forbes kept their teams in the race with second-half goals.With the 2014 North American Soccer League (NASL) spring season reaching its climax and three teams still in the hunt for the title entering the final week, international players scored crucial second-half goals to keep their club's title aspirations alive. Both New York Cosmos and San Antonio Scorpions had big road victories in their Week 8 encounters on Saturday evening, sparked by players in the NASL International Spotlight.
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Norwegian forward Mads Stokkelien scored off a penalty kick midway through the second half to break a scoreless deadlock and give the Cosmos the advantage and eventually won 3-0 over the host Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium.
The Cosmos are just three points from the league-leader Minnesota United FC, which topped Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 on Saturday and can be crowned spring champions with a victory combined with a Minnesota loss.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Turks & Caicos Islands' national team forward Billy Forbes notched his goal of the season early in the second half to stun the sold out crowd of 10,285 at IUPUI's Michael A. Carroll Stadium and give the visiting Scorpions a 1-0 advantage over Indy Eleven.
Third-place San Antonio went on the post a 2-1 victory to remain perfect (4-0-0) on the road this season and it also trails the top spot by three points in the 2014 spring standings. The Scorpions can clinch the spring title with a win combined with a loss from Minnesota AND a loss/tie from Cosmos AND if they can overcome their -3 goal differential with the Loons.
For Minnesota United FC, its title scenario for next week has multiple routes: a win or tie and they are the Spring Champion; they can also be champions if they lose AND Cosmos tie/lose AND Scorpions tie/lose or win and they can not make up their -3 goal deficit in goal differential.
Every week throughout the 2014 Spring Season, the NASL put its international stars - both coaches & players - under the 'NASL International Spotlight' focusing on the league's overseas connections.
Saturday, May 31
Ottawa Fury FC 1 FC Edmonton 0 at Carleton University’s Keith Harris Stadium
Defender – Maykon (Brazil) played the full 90.
Midfielders – Richie Ryan (Ireland) also saw action the entire match, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Bosnia & Herzegovina) played 55 minutes before being subbed out.
Forwards – Vini Dantas (Brazil) was seconds from a complete game before being replaced in injury time, while Oliver Minatel (Brazil) saw action in 86 minutes before being substituted.
Defenders – Lance Laing (Jamaica), Kareem Moses (Trinidad & Tobago) and Albert Watson (Northern Ireland) all played the entire game.
Midfielder – Ritchie Jones (England) earned another full 90, while Horace James (Jamaica) came in off the bench in the 62nd minute.
Forwards – Tomi Ameobi (England) saw action the whole game, while Daryl Fordyce (Northern Ireland) came in off the bench for the final 28 minutes of the match.
Atlanta Silverbacks 1 Minnesota United FC 2 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park
Goalkeeper – Eric Ati (Cameroon) played the entire match.
Defenders – Abdul Bangura (Sierra Leone) and Ramiro Canovas (Argentina) both earned full 90.
Midfielder – Junior Sandoval (Honduras) also had a complete game.
Forwards – Kwadwo Poku (Ghana) scored the team’s goal during his time on the field, while Deon McCaulay (Belize) saw action in 67 minutes before being substituted by Borfor Carr (Liberia). Junior Burgos (El Salvador) played 82 minutes before being replaced by Alex Harlley (Togo) who assisted on the club’s goal.
Midfielders – Daniel Mendes (Brazil) and Juliano Vicentini (Brazil) played the entire match.
Forwards – Simone Bracalello (Italy) saw action in 66 minutes before being substituted by Richard Garcia (Australia).
Carolina RailHawks 2 Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 at WakeMed Soccer Park
Midfielders – Ty Shipalane (South Africa) scored the club’s second goal and was a minute shy from a complete match before being replaced in injury time. Jun Marques Davidson (Japan) played the entire game and assisted on the team’s first tally, while Cesar Elizondo (Costa Rica) assisted on the team’s second goal before being substituted in the 78th minute. Braian Cyrino (Argentina) came in off the bench in the 89th minute.
Coach – Colin Clarke (Northern Ireland) is unbeaten in the last 21 overall home matches.
Midfielders – Shane Hill (England) and Darel Russell (England) played the full 90, while Evans Frimpong (Ghana) saw action in 63 minutes before being substituted by Lucky Mkosana (Zimbabwe).
Forward – Georgi Hristov (Bulgaria) earned another complete game under his belt.
Coach – Ricky Hill (England) lost for the third time this NASL season.
Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0 New York Cosmos 3 at Lockhart Stadium
Goalkeeper – Oka Nikolov (Macedonia) played the entire game.
Defenders – Rafael Alves (Brazil) earned a full 90, while Ivan Guerrero (Honduras) saw action in 76 minutes before being replaced.
Midfielders – Mark Anderson (England) and Chris Nurse (Guyana) played the entire match.
Forwards – Marius Ebbers (Germany) and Martin Nuñez (Uruguay) also earned the full 90, while Yaikel Pérez (Cuba) came in off the bench in the 73rd minute.
Coach – Gunter Kronsteinter (Austria) loss for the third consecutive game.
Defender – Rovérsio (Brazil) played 70 minute before being replaced.
Midfielders – Joseph Nane (Cameroon) spent the full 90 along with Sebástian Guenzatti (Uruguay) who also assisted on the team’s third tally. Paulo Mendes (Brazil) saw action in 73 minutes before being subbed out.
Forwards – Mads Stokkelien (Norway) scored the club’s first goal via penalty kick during his time on the field, while David Diosa (Colombia) played 58 minutes before being substituted.
Coach – Giovanni Savarese (Venezuela) is unbeaten in his last four encounters.
Indy Eleven 1 San Antonio Scorpions 2 at IUPUI's Michael A. Carroll Stadium
Goalkeeper – Kristian Nicht (Germany) earned another complete game on the field.
Defender – Erick Norales (Honduras) also earned a full 90.
Midfielder – Corby Moore (England) saw action in 84 minutes before being replaced.
Forward – Pedro Mendes (Brazil) came in off the bench in the 68th minute.
Defender – Julius James (Trinidad & Tobago) played the entire match.
Midfielders – Stephen DeRoux (Jamaica) and Richard Menjivar (El Salvador) also earned another full 90.
Forwards – Billy Forbes (Turks & Caicos Islands) scored the club’s first goal during his time on the field, while Danny Barrera (Colombia) and Sainey Touray (Gambia) also played the whole game. Tomasz Zahorski (Poland) saw action in 69 minutes before being replaced.