NASL Spring Season 2
NASL Roundup – Part 2
(Atlanta – GA / By Glenn Boylan)
There’s less than one month to go before the 2015 NASL Spring season kicks off. Today we’re looking at some of the off-season and preseason goings on for the second half (in alphabetical order) of the league, from Minnesota United to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Click on the link to each team’s web site for more information.
Last year’s spring champions will finish up their preseason campaign with a trip to Brazil.
The Loons have signed Cameroonian star Sammy Ndjock, who has played in France and Turkey, and was on the 2014 Cameroonian World Cup roster. Kalif Alhassan, a veteran of four seasons with MLS’s Portland Timbers, will also join Minnesota United.
USMNT player Miguel Ibarra is back, and says he’s going to be even better than he was last year. A league leader in goals and assists last season, along with his U.S. Men’s National team duties, Ibarra has set a lofty goal.
Continuing the team’s commitment to community involvement, the Loons, along with The Sanneh Foundation, held a free camp in February for more than 150 children.
The Cosmos preseason schedule had them traveling to Asia, California and Central America. I’m pretty sure that’s an NASL record for frequent flyer miles.
Head coach Giovanni Savarese and his entire coaching staff is back from last year, which is sure to be a plus for the team’s continuity.
New York will be stout between the pipes this year. Returning starter Jimmy Maurer finished 0.01 points shy of NASL’s Golden Gloves Award last year. And the Cosmos have also signed college standout goalkeeper Brian Holt. Holt’s .208 goals against average in 2011 is an NCAA record. That same year he led the NCAA with 19 shutouts and a 92.3 save percentage.
At the offensive end, Spanish star Raúl has made his long anticipated Cosmos debut and has already made an impact in the preseason.
Year 2 for the Fury kicked off with training camp in February. The Fury got their preseason friendlies off to a good start with in Toronto with a 3-2 win over TFC II.
Midfielder Brandon Poltronieri joins his former Atlanta Silverbacks teammate Mike Randolph on the Ottawa squad. Poltronieri teams up in the midfield with Patryk Misik, who played the last two years in Poland with WKS Slask Wroclaw. Ireland’s Colin Falvey will also be in the midfield for the Fury.
The Fury have an interesting series of videos on their web site titled “How We Train”. Be sure to check them out for an inside look at how the team goes about preparing for the season.
Veteran defender Julius James and midfielders Josue Soto and Richard Menjivar return to the 2014 NASL Champions for 2015.
But San Antonio did not just stand pat during the off season, adding new players all across the field including defenders Nana Attakora and Eduar Zea; midfielders Pablo Cruz, Marvin Chavez, and Zourab Tsiskaridze; and forward Cristian Palomeque.
The Scorpions seem to have picked up right where they left off on the field, defeating MLS’s FC Dallas 2-1 in a preseason friendly. Scorpions forward Cesar Elizondo assisted on the first goal and scored the second against their Texas rivals.
The Tampa Bay Rowdies just finished a preseason trip to Portugal, where they ended up with two wins, a loss and a draw.
The Rowdies have signed goalkeeper Kamil Contofalsky, a native of Slovakia. Contofalsky has been successful in Europe and played the 2014 NASL Fall Season with Fort Lauderdale.
New England Revolution veteran Zak Boggs is also on the roster and could be playing as a midfielder or forward.
Youth will also be served as Tampa Bay has signed midfielders Marquez Fernandez and Jeff Michaud, defender Zac Portillos and goalkeeper Chris Glodack to their first professional contracts.