[NASL: Week 1] The defending champion New York Cosmos opened their 2014 season Sunday afternoon with a 4-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks, whom they had beaten in Soccer Bowl 2013, before 7,906 fans at Shuart Stadium.
Captain Carlos Mendes, who had gone 10 years without a goal, scored twice for the Cosmos in the first half. Spanish defender Ayoze and Norwegian striker Mads Stokkelien also scored for the Cosmos.
"It was a team effort and there was great service and I'm just happy we scored four goals," said Mendes. "It was a great atmosphere and I hope the fans enjoyed our first game."
SATURDAY. Expansion Indy Eleven drew a sellout crowd of 11,048 for its first game at Carroll Stadium, but it had to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Carolina RailHawks.
Mike Ambersley, an Indiana University product, tallied the first Indy goal in club history in the 43rd minute, but Zack Schilawski evened the score for the RailHawks seven minutes after the break.
Indy Eleven coach Juergen Sommer was unhappy not winning the home opener but pleased with the effort of his players.
"Again, we’re building a brand new franchise," he said, "and I think we’re going to need four or five games to get a real sense of match fitness going.”
He praised the fan support.
“The Brickyard Battalion was phenomenal tonight," he said. "The atmosphere was electric and every fan was like a 12th man for us tonight.”
-- The Tampa Bay Rowdies and FC Edmonton also shared the points after a 1-1 draw before 7,033 fans at Al Lang Stadium.
The Rowdies pulled ahead in the 32nd minute on an own goal by Kareem Moses, but FC Edmonton grabbed a late equalizer created in large part by Daryl Fordyce, who raced down the right wing and looped in a perfect cross to second-half substitute Tomi Ameobi, who headed home to level the match in the 88th minute.
Veteran MLS keeper Matt Pickens came up big in his debut for the Rowdies, saving Neil Hlavaty’s penalty kick in the second half.
-- Goals by Kevin Venegas and Christian Ramirez gave Minnesota United FC a 2-0 win at San Antonio, which played more than an hour with 10 men after Julius James' dismissal.
I’m really proud of the guys,” said Minnesota coach Manny Lagos. “I thought they worked really hard. The three points are very big for us tonight, but we’ve got to get better. I thought it was a great physical game, and we didn’t back down and we saw the game out.”
-- Goals from Rafael Alves and Darnell King gave the Fort Lauderdale Strikers a 2-0 win over Ottawa, the other NASL expansion team, before 3,105 fans at Lockhart Stadium.
NASL SPRING WEEK 1, Results:
Sunday, April 13
New York 4 Atlanta 0
Saturday, April 12
Ft. Lauderdale 2 Ottawa 0
Indy Eleven 1 Carolina 1
Tampa Bay 1 FC Edmonton 1
San Antonio 0 Minn. United 2
NASL Spring Standings:
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA
3 New York 1-0-0 4/0
3 Ft. Lauderdale 1-0-0 2/0
3 Minn. United 1-0-0 2/0
1 Carolina 0-0-1 1/1
1 FC Edmonton 0-0-1 1/1
1 Indy Eleven 0-0-1 1/1
1 Tampa Bay 0-0-1 1/1
0 Ottawa 0-1-0 0/2
0 San Antonio 0-1-0 0/2
0 Atlanta 0-1-0 0/4
NASL WEEK 2, Schedule:
Saturday, April 19
Ottawa vs. Minn. United
Atlanta vs. San Antonio
Carolina vs. Ft. Lauderdale
Indy Eleven vs. Tampa Bay
FC Edmonton vs. New York