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NSC MN Stars Lose Inaugural Game to Vancouver Whitecaps

2010 April 12
by Brian Quarstad

Vancouver’s talent and experience outdoes Stars 2-0

The NSC Minnesota Stars stepped on the soccer field for the first time as an official USSF D-2 Pro League team on Sunday night in British Columbia. The Stars started slowly allowing Vancouver the majority of possession early in the game. While Vancouver enjoyed the bulk of possession, Minnesota did well in creating some good chances on the Vancouver goal, plunking one header off the woodwork and having another tipped just wide by Whitecap keeper Jay Nolly.

Most of Minnesota’s chances came from set pieces. The opportunities seemed to inspire confidence in the Stars midfield and they went on the attack numerous times looking dangerous in doing so.

With the score still knotted up at 0-0 and headed into injury time just before the half, Minnesota keeper Louis Crayton either landed wrong or collided with a Vancouver player in attempting to kick a ball he had gathered in. Crayton, in obvious pain, was carted off the field on a stretcher and appeared later on the sidelines in crutches. Crayton’s injury will be evaluated when the Stars return to Minnesota on Monday, according to coach Manny Lagos.

With Crayton gone, Joe Warren entered into the match seeing his first game as a pro in 4 years. Warren retired from the game in 2006, his last team being the Minnesota Thunder.

Warren struggled in his first minutes of the second half punching a ball weakly that landed directly at the feet of Martin Nash who chipped wide of the open goal. A few moments later a shot went directly to Warren who bobbled the ball which was chipped high by Vancouver only to land on the roof of the net. But Warren came back with several good saves later in the game. However, the midfield’s late preseason start reared its head with Minnesota showing fatigue and having nearly no possession in the second half. In fact the Stars were rarely able to get the ball out of their own half and one string of 10 passes was the most the team could muster in the second 45 minutes of play.

Vancouver finally did what seemed inevitable and scored in the 62nd minute on a play that started with Martin Nash’s free kick from just outside the area. Luca Bellisomo headed it home for the first goal of the match.

Marlon James scored the Whitecaps’ second goal in minute 76 with some nice assistance from Nizar Khalfan who had worked a give-and-go with the veteran forward.

The Vancouver midfield loaded with experience totally dominated the young Minnesota lineup and forced coach Lagos to use all 5 of his substitutions.  Minnesota’s only real chance in the second half came when substitute Melvin Tarley broke in on the right side of goal by himself in the 84th minute. With 2 defenders square and keeper Nolly in front of him, Tarley was still able to get a shot off that rolled wide left of goal.

“Obviously, I’m never happy when we lose, but I was proud of the effort tonight,” said head coach Manny Lagos. “We played tough and battled hard. Vancouver’s not an easy place to play.”

“In the first half, we had some good chances, especially the one off the post,” Lagos continued. “In the second half we didn’t have the same energy, and the real game changer was the set-piece for their first goal.”

Minnesota will have to shake the dust off quickly as they will have a travel day today and then train Tuesday and Wednesday before leaving for Cary, North Carolina on Thursday for a game with the RailHawks on Friday evening at 7:00 CST. That game will be live streamed via the RailHawks website.

Vancouver Game Report

Minnesota Game Report

Scoring Summary
VAN – Luca Bellisomo 1 (Martin Nash 1) – 62
VAN – Marlon James 1 (Nizar Khalfan 1) – 76

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Jay Nolly; 77.Zurab Tsiskaridze, 2.Nelson Akwari, 14.Greg Janicki, 4.Chris Williams; 16.Ansu Toure (19.Justin Moose 82′), 3. Luca Bellisomo (99.Ricardo Sanchez 82′), 7.Martin Nash (15.Philippe Davies 88′), 8.Wes Knight (29.Nizar Khalfan 73′); 9.Marlon James, 11.Dever Orgill (17.Randy Edwini-Bonsu 66′)

Subs not used: 31.Simon Thomas, 20.Ethan Gage

NSC Minnesota Stars
27.Louis Crayton (1.Joe Warren 45′ +); 6.Kevin Friedland (26.Ely Allen 66′), 14.Brian Kallman, 3.Andres Arango (11.Chris Clements 74′), 8.Daniel Wasson; 16.Kyle Altman, 7.Andrei Gotsmanov (19.Simone Bracalello 71′), 21.Leilei Gao, 15.Devin Del Do; 10.Johnny Menyongar, 9.Warren Ukah (18.Melvin Tarley 66′)

Subs not used: 20.Brian Cvilikas, 22.Two-Boys Gumede

Video Highlights Courtesy of the Vancouver Whitecaps

30 Responses
  1. Rafael permalink
    April 12, 2010

    the question is…will they win a game all season? we have separation of church and state in this country and MN should have separation of sport and state!

  2. Soccer Boy permalink
    April 12, 2010

    Given my advanced age of 35, I thought my eyes were deceiving me when I was watching yesterday–I thought I saw offsides on the second goal. When watching the replay, there is clearly one Whitecap player in an offsides postion–I guess it comes down to a question of whether he was influencing the play at that point. However, in my opinion the player to whom the ball was played appears (in my humble opinion) to have also been in an offsides position prior to the ball being played. I guess that would not have effected the overall outcome, however, I am glad that a closer examination of the video replay confirms what I saw.

    I was impressed by the play of Del Do (in the first half), and I also thought Goa will be an impact player as the season progresses. I agree with the analysis that Warren was a bit shaky at first, however, I would give him high marks for the 45+ minutes he did play. He also reaffirmed some of my prior comments that us 35 years olds can still play GK. Both goals were not necessarily his fault, and I think he did everything that could be expected of a GK. I also thought the back four played well together in the first half, and thought that they looked tired in the second. I also would have liked to have seen the forwards make themselves a little more avlaible in the second half as there seemed to be some disconnect between them and the midfield in the last 45 minutes.

    I like the concept of the WWW cast. I thought the quality of the feed could have been better, however, it gives me a chance to support the team when they are on the road. Great idea!

    In all, I think that this team is better than the MN Thunder of last season. Great work NSC!!! I can’t wait to get a personalized jersey to wear, and a supporter scarf!

  3. smatthew permalink
    April 12, 2010

    I completely agree the late start for training was key to the poor performance in the second half. But I was prepared for it and in the end came away happy with what I saw from our guys in the first half. I have a feeling it will take at least a month to month & half for us to fully grade this team but I wouldn’t doubt it if we steal at least one win in that period.

  4. April 12, 2010

    Come on Rafael, for the 30 billionth time, it is a non-profit that has been in business for years and never received any from of money from the city or state. God, how many times do we have to go over this. I don’t mean to be rude but I feel like a broken record.

    Of course they will win a game. They just played away at one of the toughest places to play a game in the league against one of the best and most talented teams in the league and lost 2-0. The world is not ending Rafael. Are we the best team in the league? Of course not and far from it, but they will give you some entertaining games this year.

    Come out the season opener, chill out in the beer garden and have a good time.

  5. April 12, 2010

    Soccer Boy, I responded to you this morning on your similar comment on another post. I have to agree with Smatthew. I have no idea how you can asses the team at this point and time and say they are better?

    From this morning: Soccer Boy, just curious how you can make the assumption this team is better than last years team by only seeing them in only one highly competitive game so far this year? You may be correct and I do think we have some good young talent on the team, but I am in no position at this point and time to say they are better, worse or the same.
    I personally think we will know more after their road trips and their home opener.

  6. Soccer Boy permalink
    April 12, 2010

    BQ, maybe it is just a vibe I have–and I am jumping to a conclusion–I am guilty of being very opinionated. I will do my best to withhold further judgments and commentary on the topic until mid-season.

  7. MichiganMike permalink
    April 12, 2010

    Tough start for the Stars losing their starting GK in the first game of the season… I am guessing there is some ligament damage based on his reaction. Warren looked like a rookie instead of a veteran for the first 20 minutes he played in net. He made a couple of nice plays though which saved some good goal scoring opportunities and none of his mistakes resulted in goals. We will win some games this season but will not compete for a championship. We need to be more dangerous, our attack looked average at best.

  8. April 12, 2010

    Agreed on the ligament damage. Tearing ligaments in my ankles a few times though the years when I was playing was clearly the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. But…we will wait to hear what the official word is.

  9. April 12, 2010

    Soccer Boy, comment all you want. I think thats great and insights are gained from everyone. It’s just my opinionated opinion that it’s too early to make comparisons.

  10. April 12, 2010

    On the plus side we managed to have all 11 players on the field at the start, unlike Almost Competent St. Louis. 🙂

  11. thesuperrookie permalink
    April 12, 2010

    This team is 800x better than last year.

    Why?

    Because I said so.

  12. MichiganMike permalink
    April 12, 2010

    If you would have told me before the game that Kallman would be leaving the field around the 20 minute mark I would have asked if it was a straight red or a second yellow card. Luckily for MN if was merely a bloody nose.

  13. MNSoccerGuru2 permalink
    April 12, 2010

    I was surprised that Crayton decided to
    A. put the ball at his feet with a attacking forward so close by.
    B. Chose to try to dribble the attacking forward

  14. Demolition Man permalink
    April 12, 2010

    http://www.startribune.com/sports/90315662.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

    Semi decent attempt by the Tribune of finally covering the Stars. Too bad they fail at not even having the Stars loss even in the scorecard in today’s paper let alone online. I don’t expect the Stars to get the same coverage that Brett Favre, the Twins, or even the losing Timberwolves get here in the Twin Cities but at least having the Stars in the scorecard is better than nothing.

  15. Jim permalink
    April 12, 2010

    I’m anxiously awaiting some info on Louis. That looked painful, so I’m not sure I want to see the actual collision, but I’m dying to know if we’ll see him again this year.

    They’re gonna have a tough April no matter what. Vancouver, Carolina, and PR are all good fairly stable squads. The only team that’s worse off is St. Louis… partly because they live in Saint Louis which must be awful, but partly because they trade Puerto Rico for the mighty Timbers.

  16. April 12, 2010

    Soccer Guru2, not totally untypical of Crayton. He’s been known to do that sort of thing before as well as venturing out of his goal quite a bit. It was a bit crazy, not necessary and ended up costing us his services.

  17. mnsoccerguru2 permalink
    April 12, 2010

    @BQ – I think that is what I will miss about Nic, he really made good decisions all game long.

  18. zlatan permalink
    April 12, 2010

    BQ, I’m sure you already know my opinion…I agree with Rafa. You need to check you facts about tax dollars going the the and NSC, et. holding organization. All of their facilities building and improvements are funded by tax dollars, the land was purchased with tax dollars. If they did not use tax dollars for facilities, they would not have an organization or facility. Additionally, the receive operating benefits based on their status. The do use tax payer resources. Regarding the the game, Whitecaps are a strong team. The Stars did well to keep it to 2-0…it could have been 5-0 pretty easily. I think Manny had their heads right for the game, which is certainly an improvement over the Thunder. I think it is time to stop using the late start as an excuse for their performance. Whatever advances they have in the next two months will be match by other teams…lets hope they can find a way to keep games close and give Johnny and Andre a chance to be special players near the goal.

  19. April 12, 2010

    Zlatan,
    So you don’t think they will win a game all season either? You’re too soccer savvy to say that. Come on!

    Also, how would you feel if I told you that Rochester was trying to sell Johnny back to MN for Sanchez late last summer (before the ACL) because they felt he was a one trick pony and if you look at his scoring recored he only scored against teams that were below 500 and never scored a goal against the top 5 teams in the league?

    Point being, I do think Johnny is important, but you can twist anything whatever way you want including your assessment of a non-profit owning the team. By the way, that’s a true story about Johnny.

    I don’t think Johnny is necessarily going to be the answers this year. I don’t want to speculate yet but I have feeling they will be coming from elsewhere. In my book the jury is still out on on Andrei (not Andre) and if he can play with the physicalness of this league. You and Manny are in total agreement because Manny thinks big things are in Andrei’s future. I’m skeptical. But your a skeptic so you should understand. 🙂

    mnsoccerguru2 , totally agree. Some felt he wasn’t vocal enough, but he made very good decisions. BTW, if you remember Nic when he first started sharing time with Warren he was all over the place and taking crazy risks. But he soon settled down and became a fine keeper. Right now Eric Reed seems to have the top spot in Carolina and he and Nic are splitting time. But Nic will have to win that spot from Reed. They are both good keepers.

  20. April 12, 2010

    Seriously. Who gives a rat’s you-know-what about the organizational structure and whether any tax payer dollars at some point were ever involved in the creation, evolution, and mere existence of the NSC. Keep comments on point to the topic. Minus the irrelevant and quasi-incendiary prelude (knowing BQ’s position on this tangent), Zlatan’s comments do add to the discussion of what actually happened on the pitch, even if I disagree about the impact of the late start on creation of the team. Chemistry, intuition, and trust do not magically materialize on the pitch.

  21. thesuperrookie permalink
    April 13, 2010

    Demo Man-
    The Strib had a one paragraph recap of score and game in the paper yesterday.

  22. zlatan permalink
    April 14, 2010

    I don’t think Johnny is the long term answer, but he is a proven goal scorer. He is not good enough at this point in his career to carry a team to victories, but if he stays health will probably lead them in goals. Outside of Andrei, I can’t see anyone else consistently scoring goals. Maybe Tarley? If Andrei can keep his head in the game and work hard he will be back in the MLS some day. I think Manny is a good coach for him because he’s been there. I think with a little luck, they Stars can win a game, but I still see them finishing last. Right now, I’m looking for a goal, then a tie, then a win.:)

  23. MichiganMike permalink
    April 14, 2010

    Andrei in the MLS? That is a longer shot then NSC winning the league this year. You mentioned hard work which has never been his cup of tea.

  24. April 14, 2010

    MichiganMike, Manny is totally convinced that that Andrei will be playing in MLS someday. I guess we will have to wait and see what this year brings. I will tell you this, last year, when he made his one appearance with the Thunder before being hurt, he was outstanding in the midfield that day. With conditioning and as Zlatan said, a manager who believes in him you never know. But he’s going to have to prove it not just to us but to the league and to those in MLS that may be watching.

  25. MichiganMike permalink
    April 14, 2010

    No one doubts Andrei’s ability, he is one of the most technically gifted players to come through the Minnesota youth system. His work ethic is one thing I question. He is constantly hurt. Why is that? Could it be a lack of off-season training? Is he naturally a softy? I’d like to see him progress into an MLS quality player, only time will tell.

  26. Zlatan permalink
    April 14, 2010

    Andrei did not come through the Minnesota youth system, he came through the Sergi youth system. You are correct though, gifted player, with a limited work ethic…hopefully Manny can help him.

  27. April 14, 2010

    Whats odd about that is his dad was a super hard worker and tough as nails. Neither son seemed to get the tough as nails part from their father. I can’t speak to work ethic for either son.

  28. Demolition Man permalink
    April 15, 2010

    thesuperrookie – I couldn’t find anything on their website. I tried every combination imaginable on their search, manually looked through every story in the sports area, etc.

  29. April 16, 2010

    Hey Rafael and Zlatan, what do you know. The Stars played a very entertaining game on the road to one of the most talented teams in the league and beat them 1-0 in a game that could have just as easily been 3-0. I keep hearing around the league what a great job Manny Lagos has done with the team.

    So the question is, do you suppose they will win a game this season? Silly pessimists!

  30. Amy permalink
    April 18, 2010

    Demo Man-
    The Strib had a one paragraph recap of score and game in the paper yesterday.

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