Miami FC Extends League Lead As New York Cosmos Climb Up Standings

Author:  Neal Malone
NEW YORK (June 4, 2017) - Miami FC increased its lead atop the North American Soccer League (NASL) Spring Season Standings to five points with a spirited road victory over second-place Jacksonville Armada FC.

Puerto Rico FC smlJacksonville's loss, combined with the New York Cosmos' win in North Carolina, meant that the two sides would conclude Week 11 tied on 16 points - five shy of league-leading Miami.

Two clubs - Puerto Rico FC and Indy Eleven - entered Saturday night still in search of their first league victories this year, and one of them checked that item off the list. Puerto Rico trounced FC Edmonton at home, while Indy Eleven surrendered a two-goal lead late in the second half to settle for a point in San Francisco.  

A full recap of each Week 11 contest can be found below:  

Jacksonville Armada FC 0, Miami FC 1

Jacksonville came up just short in a 1-0 loss to league-leading Miami FC at Hodges Stadium on Saturday night.

Midfielder Dylan Mares scored in the 35th minute, nodding home a cross from left back Blake Smith, and Miami made the former Indiana University star's goal stand up with some stellar defensive play down the stretch. 

Italian forward Enzo Rennella nearly doubled the visitors' lead just after halftime, but Jacksonville goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell was able to make a kick save to keep the shot out of the net. 

Armada FC had a pair of chances late in the second half to level the score, and both of them came off the head of forward Derek Gebhard. Following some nice play from Charles Eloundou and Zach Steinberger, the young forward saw his near post header go just wide of the net in the 72nd minute. Then, in the 85th minute, Gebhard got another chance in front of the net coming from a cross by Bryam Rebellon, but his header flashed wide again. 

Puerto Rico FC 3, FC Edmonton 0

Puerto Rico FC's first victory of the NASL season came in emphatic fashion, with the host side prevailing, 3-0, over FC Edmonton at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium on Saturday night. 

Forward Giuseppe Gentile has been outstanding in recent weeks, and his high-level play was finally rewarded with a goal. Gentile sliced through the Eddies defense in the 25th minute and snuck a shot past visiting goalkeeper Chris Konopka to open the scoring. 

Gentile was at the center of the attack just three minutes later as Puerto Rico doubled its advantage. The speedy forward laid the ball off to his strike partner, Pito Ramos, who side-footed a shot into the corner of the net to make the score 2-0. 

Midfielder Jairo Puerto, who was full of confidence after scoring for the Honduran national team last week, sealed all three points in the 52nd minute when he finished off a driving run through the midfield with a beautiful curled effort that left Konopka with no chance. 

San Francisco Deltas 2, Indy Eleven 2

Indy Eleven looked destined to grab its first win of the season at Kezar Stadium on Saturday night, but two late goals by the San Francisco Deltas forced the visitors to settle for a draw. 

Second-half strikes from defender Lovel Palmer and midfielder Brad Ring had Indy up a pair of goals late in the game, but Spanish midfielder Cristian Portilla sparked the Deltas' comeback when he scored an Olimpico-style goal from a corner kick in the 85th minute.

Pressing for an equalizer in the dying moments, San Francisco found the back of the net through forward Devon Sandoval. The veteran forward headed home a picture-perfect cross from Canadian international Kyle Bekker with just two minutes left in stoppage time. The dramatic ending denied Indy its first win in 2017 and kept San Francisco near the front of the pack in the Spring Season Standings. 

North Carolina FC 0, New York Cosmos 1

The New York Cosmos grinded out a 1-0 win over North Carolina FC at Sahlen's Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 

North Carolina goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre was called into action all game long, and if it wasn't for his efforts, the Cosmos' victory would have been much more comfortable. Venezuelan international Juan Guerra did manage to squeeze one past Sylvestre in the 51st minute and New York's back line, despite plenty of pressure from the hosts' attack, preserved the clean sheet. 

Guerra's goal came after an impressive diving save from Sylvestre. Eventually, the ball ended up at the feet of midfielder Walter Restrepo, who looped a cross over to Guerra before the Venezuelan veteran blasted it home.

The second half was wide open as both sides traded chance after chance, but in the end it was New York that had the one moment of composure in front of goal to earn all three points and move up the table.