NASL Roundup: All Hail the Cosmos!

Ruben Tisch's idol, Marcos Senna. - Mike Stobe

The Hot Time brain trust finally comes around....

Like that thing you won on eBay, the Roundup has showed up as promised, only later than expected!

Important Shutdown Update:

Hot Time's sources tell us one of the major sticking points in this weekend's negotiations on Capitol Hill is the inclusion of a retroactive pay increase for the gag writers and copy editors who make this report readable!

While the politicians bicker, let's finish our survey of results from the two previous weeks....

Minnesota United FC

While other NASL clubs have risen and fallen dramatically in the standings, the Loons have quietly solidified their position on the table. Minnesota's mixture of MLS veterans in the midfield and foreign attacking talent up top has helped them compete with higher-profile sides.

September 28: Minnesota United FC 1 - 0 San Antonio Scorpions

October 5: Minnesota United FC 0 - 1 New York Cosmos

The Loons ended up on opposite sides of one-nil scorelines in a pair of home matches, and in both cases the lone goal was scored by a Brazilian. Against the Scorpions, it was Rio di Janeiro's Pablo Campos who scored from the spot to earn Minnestoa the full three points, but it was twenty-three year old winger Paulo Mendes who tallied for the Cosmos. Campos' goal was his eighth of the season, good for fourth place in the Golden Boot race. We'll recap the Loons' Saturday clash with the Silverbacks in another column later this week.

Carolina RailHawks

After starting the season with ten points in their first four games, the RailHawks have taken just four points from the next seven, despite boasting a lineup studded with MLS veterans like Jordan Graye, Julius James, and Zach Schilawski. Forward Brian Schriver has put together a solid campaign in 2013, scoring 12 times, but only four goals from that total have come in the second half of the NASL split season. In addition to Schriver's lukewarm form, the RailHawks defense that allowed just two goals through their first five matches has come apart, conceding nine times in the subsequent five fixtures.

September 28: Carolina RailHawks 2 - 0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers

October 6: FC Edmonton 2 - 1 Carolina RailHawks

The ‘Hawks trumped Fort Lauderdale in Cary, North Carolina, on Columbian midfielder Bréiner Ortiz's first goal of the season and hometown boy Brian Ackley's third, an 80th-minute penalty. In Alberta, the RailHawks couldn't contain Eddies forward Daryl Fordyce, who finished both of Edmonton's goals. Carolina traveled to Long Island to face the Cosmos on Saturday. Check back later this week to find out just how poorly that match went for the Daniel Paladini's old team.

Tampa Bay Rowdies

No second-division club has seen as much success in the attacking third as the Rowdies have this season: They lead the NASL in team goals by a comfortable 6-goal margin, and they boast a pair of players who rank among the league's top five producers in both goals and assists (Georgi Hristov and Luke Mulholland). Going into September's last weekend, Tampa Bay had a chance to defeat the league-leading Cosmos and take over at the top of the table.

September 29: New York Cosmos 4 - 3 Tampa Bay Rowdies

October 5: Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2 - 1 Tampa Bay Rowdies

Other than noting that Hristov, Mulholland, and former Fire draft pick Lucky Mkosana all scored in the Sunday showdown with New York, we'll save comment on that match for our look at the NASL leaders. After the disappointing result against the Cosmos, the Rowdies went down to Fort Lauderdale and turned in a stunningly meek offensive showing against the Strikers. The Florida Derby loss left Tampa Bay a full seven points out of first place; however, the Rowdies had a chance for revenge against Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. Still, with just four weeks remaining in the season, the Rowdies are undoubtedly regretting their failure to make a 3-1 lead stand up against New York.

Speaking of the Cosmos....

New York Cosmos

For weeks, we at the Hot Time brain trust have mocked the Cosmos. We've derided their make-believe continuity with the legendary organization of the 1970s. We've scorned their fickle hipster fan base, who are too cosmopolitan to cross the Hudson to support a club. We have even poked fun at the man who arguably holds the title of Greatest Footballer in History: Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known to the world as Pelé.

Well, no more.

September 29: New York Cosmos 4 - 3 Tampa Bay Rowdies

October 5: Minnesota United FC 0 - 1 New York Cosmos

As much as it may pain us to admit it, the Cosmos are unquestionably the best team in the league right now. Two weeks ago, Giovanni Savarese's men reeled off three unanswered goals in nineteen minutes to hand Tampa Bay their first loss, and they shut out Minnesota on the road to open a commanding seven-point lead at the top of the table. Although his numbers may not be as eye-popping as Hristov's, Marcos Senna may be the most valuable player of the fall campaign, the most influential member of the most impressive side. Since September 1st, the former Villarreal man has scored three goals, two of which came after the 75th minute and secured points for the Cosmos. Savarese has this team in top form, and the Cosmos are a couple of wins away from booking their place in Soccer Bowl 2013.

Make room on that bandwagon, hipsters!

NASL Standings

Team

GP

W

T

L

Points

New York Cosmos

10

6

3

1

21

Tampa Bay Rowdies

10

3

5

2

14

Carolina RailHawks

10

4

2

4

14

Minnesota United FC

10

4

2

4

14

Fort Lauderdale Strikers

10

4

2

4

14

Atlanta Silverbacks

10

3

4

3

13

FC Edmonton

10

2

5

3

11

San Antonio Scorpions

10

2

1

7

7

That's all for now, football fans! Be sure to check back during the week for scores and analysis from this weekend's NASL action.

Be here! Same Hot Time! Same Hot Channel!

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