Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What's Going On In The NASL vol. 2

Sock it to me, sock it to me!
By: Aaron Gunyon

We are now just 38 days away from opening day in the NASL. The off-season continues as we thought it might as teams are preparing for training camps and begin preseason training. It's time to check in and see how everyone is doing up to this point. The silly season breeds silly articles and this will be no different.  

Note: Roster counts will be taken from team websites. While every attempt has been made to ensure accuracy, some players haven't been re-signed and some will still have options declined.  


The league is already minus two teams in an expansion year.  Not a solid start.  Rayo OKC and Miami FC will bump that number back up to a total of 11 once the Spring Season kicks off in April and Puerto Rico FC will make 12 competing clubs in the Fall Season. The departing teams were the weakest ownership groups which is why this grade isn't lower.  

Grade: C-

San Antonio Scorpions

You are gone but not forgotten. Kindof. The NASL web admin has done their best to scrub you from our memories, but you will live on. Kindof. Your players and coaches will all be on other teams, but we will never let go. Have fun in the USL.

Grade: Withdrawal

Miami - Roster Count: 21

Miami has every intention of packing the house for opening day, but season tickets start at $242. Ouch! Pablo Campos didn't fit with the new look in Minnesota, but a lot of older people head to Florida this time of year. I'll call them snowbirds for now, but they will be tough out of the gate.  

Grade: B+

Minnesota United - Roster Count: 20

Defense much? Minnesota United FC has been so busy trying to protect their name that they have seemingly forgotten to protect the defensive third. There is certainly something in the works, but the Loons only have 4 true defenders on the roster. It looks like they are planning on outscoring everyone and using the checkers defense...never moving their back row.

Grade: B-

Rayo OKC - Roster Count: 10 (rayookc.com) 16 (nasl.com/transactions)

It's definitely still early buy Rayo leads the league in the "Pull yourself together" category. The NASL.com is not really known for the best and most up-to-date statistics and the team from OKC is worse. Interesting naming your 9 trialists in camp.  I don't hate it, but other teams keep that info private when they think that the players are any good. Its been 10 days since the last player announcement for an expansion team.

Grade: D
Like, OMG! I totally hate scorpions
Ottawa Fury - Roster Count: 20

There were 9 championship defectors the last time I counted.  9 players that took the field for last season's Soccer Bowl are no longer with the team. Three such players have joined the Indy Eleven. I have no idea what's going on in Ottawa, but Marc Dos Santos' departure really destabilized a rock solid fall team. Defense wins championships and so does money. Pay up, Fury.  

Grade: F (current winner of The Bloody Shambles Award of Shambolitry)

New York Cosmos - Roster Count: 23

The Cosmos are getting ready lead the league again, but without mega-star signings on their roster.  What's up with that? Cosmos fans still believe they are the only team worth watching, but that doesn't explain their middling and declining attendance numbers. Cosmos are also probably the only team that isn't excited about a potential TV deal with CBS. "We really like our relationship with One World Sports."

Grade: A

Jacksonville Armada - Roster Count: 25!

Finding game time for this swollen roster might be a tough task for first time head coach Tony Meola. Team owner Mark Frisch just ousted Team President Steve Livingstone and absorbed his responsibilities.  Perhaps he was trying to find money for more players yet to be announced. Frisch's family business is frozen fish manufacturing and distribution so day-to-day operations is really just a plug and play scenario here.

Grade: A 

Carolina Railhawaks - Roster Count: 19

Well, Dumbnames. Your preseason started yesterday so the boys definitely have work to do before they play host to Toluca FC in a little over a month. *All games and field location at WakeMed Soccer Park are subject to change so be careful when ordering the "Toluca Two Pack"

Grade: C+

Atlanta Silverbacks - Roster Count: NA

Atlanta is the feel bad/feel good story of the offseason. They are also not playing in the NASL, but they deserve a ton of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for fighting to keep the dream alive. ATL will be in NPSL. Take care, TCB

Grade: Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me, Sock it to me.

Indy is ready Mon!
Indy Eleven - Roster Count: 23

The Eleven have signed their fourth Jamaican for the upcoming season so there is going to be some serious bobsledding going on in 2016. It's not that weird because the head coach just came back from Montego Bay with a deeper appreciation for Rasta culture. Seven different Reggae Boyz have suited up for Indy since the inaugural season.

Grade: Redemption Song

Tampa Bay Rowdies - Roster Count: Freddy Adu

I have 3 obsessions in the NASL. I have already covered Indy Eleven and the Travishmamockery that is Ottawa.  It's all you need to know. I only mention Freddy because more people will read this if I tag him in this post.

Grade: B

Ft Lauderdale Strikers - Roster Count: 24

Have fun taking your Brazilian team to China. The real competition will be just a few miles south.  2016 opens with south Florida Derby on April 2 and the Strikers are serious about being serious about soccer. Let's hope they aren't trying too hard and they don't burn themselves out by the time the fall season comes around. Strikers will start off hot.

Grade: A-

FC Edmonton - Roster Count: 23

I would be pleased if I were an Edmonton fan.  Few have the pleasure of cheering for an Eddie named Eddie Edward. And to be real, I think it's fantastic that the organization has kept so much of last season's roster in tact. Eddie's Eddies will have many challenges this year though as many teams took this offseason to upgrade. Edmonton didn't. Wouldn't want to. What would you change?

Grade: A+

As always you can follow us on Twitter @Bloody_Shambles, Aaron Gunyon is @agunyon and James Cormack can be found at @BShambles_JC.

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