NASL: Florida clubs vie for final playoff spot

With Ottawa, Minnesota United and the New York Cosmos already assured of semifinal berths, the last week of regular season play will determine the fourth NASL playoff entry, and it will be a team from Florida -- the Tampa Bay Rowdies or Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

The Rowdies, thanks to a 1-0 win over Carolina last Saturday, control their own destiny. A Tampa Bay win on Saturday at the New York Cosmos, who are vying with Ottawa for the top seed, will book a postseason ticket for the Rowdies. Should the Rowdies fall short of victory, the Strikers will have a chance to advance on Sunday when they host Jacksonville.

Salvadoran-American midfielder Richard Menjivar scored on a 25-year shot in the 12th minute to give the Rowdies the crucial win over Carolina and earn Player of the Week honors.

The Strikers lost ground when they settled for a scoreless tie with San Antonio last Wednesday and fell to Indy Eleven on Saturday.

Ottawa had clinched the fall championship last week but the big prize is the top seed and rights to host in the postseason, which goes to the top finisher in the combined standings. A tie at Atlanta on Saturday is all Ottawa needs.

The Cosmos stayed in the hunt for the top seed with their 2-1 win at San Antonio on Sunday thanks to late goals by Marcos Senna and Ayoze.

NASL Standings:
FALL SEASON
Ottawa 44 // Minnesota United 38 New York 33 FC Fort Lauderdale 27 Edmonton 26  Atlanta 24 Tampa Bay 20 Indy Eleven 20 Jacksonville 19 San Antonio 18 Carolina 18 .
COMBINED
*Ottawa 55 *New York 53 *Minnesota United 52 Tampa Bay 39 // Ft. Lauderdale 38 FC Edmonton 35 Indy Eleven 33 Carolina 32 Atlanta 32   Jacksonville 31, San Antonio 30.
*Clinched playoff berths.

NASL Leading Scorers
Stefano Pinho (Fort Lauderdale) 16
Christian Ramirez (Minnesota) 12
Omar Cummings (San Antonio) 10
Nacho Novo (Carolina) 10

NASL Week 17, Results:
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21
Fort Lauderdale 0 San Antonio 0
Jacksonville 1 Ottawa 3
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24
Indy Eleven 2 Fort Lauderdale 1
Minn. United 1 Atlanta 0
Tampa Bay 1 Carolina 0
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 25
FC Edmonton 1 Jacksonville 1
San Antonio 1 New York 2

NASL Week 18, Schedule:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30
Carolina vs. Indy Eleven
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31
Atlanta Silverbacks vs. Ottawa
Minn. United vs. San Antonio
New York vs. Tampa Bay
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1
Jacksonville vs. Fort Lauderdale

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