The second week of the NASL kicks off later today and five more games round out the weekend. The Cosmos will take the field on Sunday and host the Jacksonville Armada, but how about the other games in the league this week? Lets take a look.
Indy Eleven vs Ottawa Fury FC – Michael A. Carroll Stadium – Indianapolis
beIN Sports will continue its NASL coverage with this game and we can only hope this game has more excitement than the network’s inaugural game last week. On paper, this game might not look intriguing but these should be two pretty evenly matched teams both looking to get a result.
For Indy, they come off a solid draw at Tampa Bay, however, they were dominated for most of the game. Newcomer Jon Busch made three saves in the shutout draw last week, however his offense really did not help the matter, only getting one shot on target. Indy will look to get newcomer Eamon Zayed more touches in the 18 to create more chances.
For Ottawa, they are still a team transitioning with a new lineup and a new coach. Last week, we saw a more uptempo start than we are used to seeing from the Fury and while the score line suggested a blowout, they really were not. Two goals conceded were more of a right place/right time situation and it killed Ottawa, who still can do some things going forward, and Gerardo Bruna showed some signs that he could be a force.
We might be pleasantly surprised with an exciting game in this one.
Miami FC vs Tampa Bay Rowdies – FIU Stadium – Miami
The Rowdies were pitiful on the road last year and this is a great way to start the road campaign. Miami showed some signs of decent play against the Strikers last week but overall still are not as good as the Rowdies.
Tampa Bay will need Alhassan to have a better game and see the continued strong play by other newcomers Michael Nanchoff and Eric Avila. While Tom Heinemann did not score last week, you can tell the Rowdies will get its act together and get the goals. By the way, there was a solid interview with Junior Burgos on the Unused Substitutes this past week.
For Miami, the story will be off the field. This is a team in its second game, but many fans often question when it comes to supporting local teams. Miami FC is, for sure. doing its part on marketing but will the market come out to see Miami FC with the rumors of Beckham United still in full gear? We will find out.
Rayo OKC vs Carolina Railhawks – Miller Stadium – Oklahoma City
This is the game I am looking forward to the most out of the non-Cosmos match-ups. The Railhawks showed the league something last week with a re-tooled team that has a potent attack and is much better defensively this year. This team knows what the Spring Season is and will look to build off of the huge win last week. Expect to see much of the same from Carolina this week.
OKC played well enough but sadly, Matt Van Oekel played spoiler in their inaugural match. Rayo did show that going forward they will be a threat and Samaras showed right off the bat that he still can contribute.
This game will be a lot of fun as two teams with solid attacks will do battle on One World Sports. I would hope that Billy Forbes gets more of a role in this game for OKC.
FC Edmonton vs Minnesota United – Clarke Field – Edmonton
Minnesota United will play their second straight road game to open the Spring Season and while Wake Med is a tough place to play in general, traveling to Edmonton is just as tough.
Last week, after going down, United brought Pinho off the bench and flipped to more of a 4-4-2 with the two most potent strikers in the league up top. You have to wonder if this is a formation change that could happen when the starting XIs are announced on Sunday. Minnesota will need to get 3 points here because if the Cosmos and Carolina win, and they fail to get a result, they will be 6 points off the pace in the short spring season.
Edmonton will want to look to possess the ball a little more this week. While they were down a man for 60 minutes of last weeks match, they will need to control more than 30% of the possession if they want a chance to beat Minnesota. Edmonton will have the home crowd and elements behind them as well as the turf so this game can really go either way.
Some great games as the NASL season hits week 2. Check out all the action and listen to This is Cosmos Country Podcast next week as we will recap all the action from around the league.
Indy vs Ottawa should feature two of the more evenly-matched teams at the moment. But if Indy can’t find an offensive spark here, I’d think Ottawa can take them. Last week, the attack looked completely underwhelming and Ottawa have shown themselves capable of threatening the net, like they did against the Mos last week.
If Miami can hold their shape and stay organized defensively, they are capable of forcing a result from a Rowdies squad whose attack looked lackluster. But, if the Rowdies attack starts to function like it should on paper, this could be a bad day for the home side. Nevertheless, praying for something better than the absolutely poor game between the Strikers and Miami last week.
I’m looking forward to the next two matches.
Carolina travels to OKC with momentum and a potent attack capable of outgunning United. OKC showed last week what they can do against Edmonton, but the Eddies aren’t really known for their overwhelming offense and were already down a man. I could see the likes of Shipalane giving the back line a very bad time and the Railhawks defense showed it could already hold against the likes of the United offense, they may be able to do the same against OKC, but we’ll have to see if Samaras can affect the play as much as he did last week.
The Flyover Cup is usually a fun watch and with the departure of Laing to United, maybe a little more personal. Nick is right in highlighting back-to-back rough road trips. The only differences? United won’t have to contend with an attack as dynamic as what Carolina offers and the Eddies will be without the services of center back and captain Albert Watson, lost to a red card.