FC Dallas' season may be ending prematurely, but if the form of their on-loan duo in NASL says anything, reinforcements could be coming in 2014.
On Saturday, Richard Sanchez and Bradlee Baladez played starring roles as the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers stomped the Spring Season champion Atlanta Silverbacks 6-2. Assisted by a red card to Atlanta just after halftime and the continued good form of Sanchez in goal, the Strikers let loose an offensive flurry of goals, with Baladez (above, second from left) scoring twice off the bench.
The FCD Homegrown subbed in in the 64th minute and, three minutes later, he found the net with a cheeky effort, chipping over a helpless Eric Ati. His second came by way of a sweeping counterattack that saw him beat the defense and goalkeeper in the 83rd. The win moved the Strikers into a tie for third with Carolina at 17 points.
At the top of the table, Corey Hertzog (Vancouver Whitecaps) and FC Edmonton delayed the New York Cosmos' march to the Soccer Bowl by holding the Fall Season debutants to a 1-1 draw in Long Island thanks to a 90th-minute goal by David Proctor.
Hertzog led the attack for Edmonton, forcing former Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Kyle Reynish to multiple saves on the night, including a fourth-minute dive to his right. The Whitecaps striker was active for all 90 minutes, keeping Reynish sharp and forcing him off his line to shut down plays on more than one occasion. Former Villarreal midfielder Marcos Senna got the opening goal for New York with a 30-yard line drive 29 minutes into the match.
The Cosmos extended their unbeaten streak to nine matches and can clinch the Fall with a win in San Antonio this coming weekend.
Meanwhile, the Carolina RailHawks picked up a rare road win in Minnesota thanks to a 52nd-minute goal by Enzo Martinez. The Real Salt Lake attacker fired home a shot from just outside the penalty box that sailed past a diving Matt VanOekel. LA Galaxy midfielder Kenney Walker again started and manned defensive midfielder for the RailHawks while his LA teammate Bryan Gaul subbed in with eight minutes remaining.
Minnesota United employed the services of the Montreal Impact’s Calum Mallace for the final 29 minutes of play, but he was unable to rally his team.
Minnesota United FC 0, Carolina RailHawks 1; Saturday, Oct. 19
M Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Minnesota (Montreal Impact) - Did not dress
M Calum Mallace, Minnesota (Montreal Impact) - Substitute, played 29 minutes
M Enzo Martinez, Carolina (Real Salt Lake) - Started, played 90 minutes, one goal
D Bryan Gaul, Carolina (LA Galaxy) - Substitute, played 8 minutes
M Kenney Walker, Carolina (LA Galaxy) - Started, played 90 minutes
Ft. Lauderdale Strikers 6, Atlanta Silverbacks 2; Saturday, Oct. 19
F Bradlee Baladez (FC Dallas) - Substitute, played 26 minutes, scored two goals
GK Richard Sanchez (FC Dallas) - Started, played 90 minutes
New York Cosmos 1, FC Edmonton 1; Sunday, Oct. 20
F Corey Hertzog (Vancouver Whitecaps) - Started, played 90 minutes