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SF Deltas: One year, one championship, one-and-done

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The San Francisco Deltas did work in its first season in the NASL, and will leave the soccer landscape with a 100 percent title to season ratio.

Deltas chief executive officer Brian Andrés Helmick announced that the Deltas will not play a second season on Friday, little more than two years after announcing the team’s existence.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Canadian manager Marc Dos Santos led San Francisco to second place in both the Spring and Fall seasons, and the Deltas beat the New York Cosmos to claim the 2017 playoff title.

The NASL has been denied Division II status by the United States Soccer Federation, though appeals have been lodged. The league’s future is being monitored by many in the U.S. soccer landscape.

Saying he’s “eternally grateful,” Helmick wrote a post on Medium.com:

This is a very sad moment because it is definitely not the desired outcome. However, there’s a lot to be proud of and I hope it will leave a lasting effect on all of you. Not just as the startup soccer team that went on to win a championship on the field, but as the team who did all they could to benefit the community off the field.

FC Edmonton has also left the NASL, and may not participate in any league next season as their owner questioned the business’ sustainability and blamed the market. Tom Fath said the club will not be in the USL, either.

“As for the Canadian Premier League, I love the idea, I think it’s important for Canada. But what we require is it to be sustainable. We need to be sustainable. Whatever we do, it won’t be USL. And the NASL is not sustainable in Edmonton.”

Read the NASL’s reaction to the departures here, as Rishi Sehgal says the league is changing its business structure during a “time of change” and expresses hope that it will win its court appeal against USSF.

These are reminders of the perilous and tenuous nature of start-up soccer in America. With wild travel fees and so many entertainment options sewn into the fabric of the country, the course has to be well plotted for a team to be successful. Support your local club.

NASL weekend preview: Edmonton, NY Cosmos not budging in title battle

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Carolina and Minnesota picked up big wins in pursuit the playoffs, while New York and Edmonton nabbed ties to inch closer to the postseason themselves last weekend.

To reset: Indy Eleven is going to the playoffs based on winning the Spring Season title. The Fall Season winner will also go, and the New York Cosmos leads FC Edmonton by three points for that honor, but have played two more matches than the Eddies.

[ MORE: Landon Donovan confirms return ]

The other two slots go to wild card teams, who earn the honor by being the two highest-ranking non-title winning teams in the combined season table. One of those seems destined to the Edmonton or New York, and right now it looks like it’ll be either Minnesota United and Carolina for the final slot.

United sits fourth in the combined table now with 39 points and has been buoyed by talisman Christian Ramirez, who is on pace for another NASL Golden Boot (Read about his USMNT ambitions in this week’s feature here).

But Carolina has played two fewer games, and can make up six of its seven-point deficit by winning those matches-in-hand.

On Saturday night, the Railhawks host an Ottawa team that hasn’t won in ages and stand a good chance to keep the pressure on United. Minnesota has to travel to New York to face the first place Cosmos, a challenging task.

NASL weekend schedule
Indy Eleven at Fort Lauderdale — 7 p.m. EDT Saturday
Minnesota United at New York Cosmos — 7 p.m. EDT Saturday
Ottawa Fury at Carolina Railhawks — 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday
Tampa Bay Rowdies at Puerto Rico FC — 7:30 p.m. EDT Saturday
Miami FC at FC Edmonton — 4 p.m. EDT Sunday
Jacksonville Armada at Rayo OKC — 8 p.m. EDT Sunday

NASL weekend preview: Edmonton, Minnesota chasing top spot

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Everyone loves match week, though we know one NASL keeper who’s probably looking forward to it more than most in order to begin his road back from a horrible own goal.

Sammy Ndjock and Minnesota United have had their laugh at his misfortune — #BlameItOnTheJelly — and now turn their attention to running up the NASL table.

[ MORE: MLS Weekend Preview ]

At 2-1 to start the Fall Season, United get a Fort Lauderdale team that is struggling in form and also played at midweek, falling out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the quarterfinals.

After staying home all week, Minnesota will hope to move keep pace with New York for the league lead.

The only side doing better in points-per-game is FC Edmonton, and the Eddies can pass third place Indy Eleven if they can handle their business down in the United States.

Miami FC at Carolina RailHawks

Ottawa Fury at Jacksonville Armada
FC Edmonton at Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC at Puerto Rico FC
New York Cosmos at Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Minnesota United

Vancouver joins Montreal in Canadian final; CONCACAF Champions League berth decided in August

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The Vancouver Whitecaps moved one step closer to breaking their Canadian Championship hex with a last-gasp win over FC Edmonton of the NASL on Thursday night.

Matias Laba’s goal in the 7th minute of second-half stoppage time gave the ‘Caps a 2-1 win, 3-2 on aggregate, in their semifinal.

[ MORE: U.S. Open Cup second round wrap ]

Montreal defeated Toronto FC in the other semifinal, meaning Vancouver’s wishes of a CONCACAF Champions League berth will be granted or denied over two legs with the current CCL runners-up.

The Impact will be looking for their third-straight Canadian Championship, having defeated TFC and Vancouver in recent campaigns.

Toronto won four consecutive tournaments before that, and Montreal won the first. In the middle of all that, Vancouver lost a remarkable five title games in-a-row (the first four to TFC and the fifth against Montreal).

The Eddies loss means the final will be conducted without the tournament’s leading scorer. Tomi Ameobi, between brothers Shola (Crystal Palace) and Sammy (Newcastle United) on the family tree, scored four goals.

Canadian Championships, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup roll on this evening


Montreal’s in a bad place heading into leg two of its match with NASL side FC Edmonton in the Canadian Championships, while Toronto FC will look to finish off the Vancouver Whitecaps in the other semi.

The Impact trail the Eddies 2-1 heading into tonight’s match at Stade Saputo, which means they’ll need a 1-0 or two-goal win in order to advance to the final.

Meanwhile Vancouver has an away goal, so a 1-0 win or two-goal win would work for them as well.

South of the Canadian border, USL Pro sides join the fray for the second formal round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Some of the higher profile match-ups feature LA Galaxy II vs. previous darlings Cal FC and the Pittsburgh Riverhounds’ date with the New York Red Bulls’ NPSL side.

Portland Timbers U23s (PDL) 2-3 Arizona United (USL PRO)

Orlando City U23 (PDL) vs. Jacksonville United (NPSL)
FC Schwaben AC (USASA) vs. Dayton Dutch Lions (USL PRO)
Baltimore Bohemians (PDL) vs. Icon FC (USASA)
Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL PRO) vs. New York Red Bulls (NPSL)
Ocean City Nor’easters (PDL) vs. Greek American AA (USASA)
Reading United  (PDL) vs. GBFC Thunder (NPSL)
RVA FC (NPSL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL PRO)
Charlotte Eagles (USL PRO) vs. Carolina Dynamo (PDL)
FC Sonic Lehigh Valley (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL PRO)
Michigan Bucks (PDL) vs. RWB Adira (USASA)
Orlando City (USL PRO) vs. Ocala Stampede (PDL)
Charleston Battery (USL PRO) vs. Panama City Beach Pirates (PDL)
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL PRO)
Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) vs. Western Mass Pioneers (PDL)
Jersey Express (PDL) vs. Brooklyn Italians (NPSL)
Tulsa Athletics (NPSL) vs. Oklahoma City Energy FC (USL PRO)
Des Moines Menace (USASA) vs. Real Colorado Foxes (PDL)
Austin Aztex  (PDL) vs. NTX Rayados (USASA)
Fresno Fuego (PDL)  vs. Orange County Blues (USL PRO)
Laredo Heat (PDL) vs. Red Force FC (USASA)
Sacramento Republic FC (USL PRO) vs. Ventura County Fusion (PDL)
San Diego Flash (NPSL) forfeit match to PSA Elite (USASA)
LA Galaxy II (USL PRO) vs. Cal FC (USASA)