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NSC Stars Go Up Against Carolina RailHawks

2010 April 16
by Brian Quarstad

The NSC Stars travel to WakeMed Park in Cary, NC tonight to play the RailHawks at 6:00 PM CT. The game will be available online at the NSC Stars website.

The NSC Stars may have needed to either take naps or get to bed early on Thursday evening. Their day had started mighty early as their red-eye flight to Raleigh-Durham left at 4:00 am on Thursday morning.

The players on that early flight were: Joe Warren, Andres Arango, Andrei Gotsmanov, Daniel Wasson, Warren Ukah, Johnny Menyongar, Chris Clements, Brian Kallman, Devin Del Do, Kyle Altman, Melvin Tarley, Simone Bracalello and former 3rd-string keeper Mat VanOekel.

VanOekel was signed to a contract on Wednesday, according to Manny Lagos, head coach of the Stars. The NSC told IMS that last year’s Thunder backup keeper will be wearing Louis Crayton’s kit because they couldn’t get a jersey turned around in time before they left for Cary, but he’ll be wearing the #30 when he gets his own gear.

Meeting the 13 players in Carolina will be Kevin Friedland and Leilei Gao, both who flew directly from Vancouver after remaining there after last Sunday’s game in order to clear up visa issues for Leilei and Two-Boys Gumede.  Friedland, who is a player/coach, stayed with the both players to assist them in communicating with the NSC and getting the visa matter cleaned up. As of Thursday, Two-Boys still hadn’t gotten clearance and the NSC expected it would be Friday before that happened. They will then fly him back to the Twin Cities rather than risk a late flight into North Carolina where he would be doubtful to make the game on time.

Neil Hlavaty didn’t make the trip for the 2nd game in a row. He was still having issues getting his registration from the Polish Football Federation, which was sure to have been complicated by the tragedy in Poland this past week.

Louis Crayton, who went down in Sunday’s game in Vancouver in what seemed like a serious knee injury, still has not had an MRI. He has attempted to do so several times this week but the swelling is still too severe to allow the MRI to be effective.

Lagos said Ely Allen and Brian Cvilikas did not make the team because he is trying to manage his team that will play a game Friday then turn around and play a game next Wednesday and again on the weekend. With only 15 players in Carolina, it will not even allow coach Lagos his full 5 substitutes, which could be an issue with the predicted high of 80° in Cary today. Last Sunday, the Stars manager used all 5 subs as his players looked fatigued compared to Vancouver, who had been training for months.

“We had a light practice yesterday and you could tell the guys weren’t used to the temperatures,” said Lagos. “It’s predicted to be the hottest day of the week down here. When we went to Vancouver they had similar weather to us so that wasn’t a factor. The temperature could be an issue for our guys tonight.”

The game last Sunday saw Minnesota dominated early, but bounce back with some better scoring opportunities than Vancouver. After Crayton went down just before the half, the team seemed to take a dip in confidence and it was the all-Whitecaps show the second half. Minnesota was never able to string together more than a few passes  and rarely was able to get the ball out of their own half until some of the Stars’ subs were made.

Don’t expect things to get easier for the Stars tonight. Carolina is every bit as talented as Vancouver if not more. The RailHawks finished 2nd in the league last year and improved their roster in the off season. One of those acquisitions is Nic Platter, former goalkeeper for the Minnesota Thunder. As of Thursday evening there was still no word if Platter or Eric Reed would get the nod against the Stars. Reed started last Sunday’s opening game for the RailHawks when they beat AC St. Louis in their inaugural game, 2-0. Carolina coach Martin Rennie has favored a system in the past of rotating their keepers but word from Carolina is that system may change this year. Reed was not tested much against the expansion team last Sunday at WakeMed Park and recorded only three saves to give the keeper a clean sheet.

Etienne Barbara, who was acquired by Rennie over the off-season, scored both RailHawks goals last week. The Carolina offense is still looking for a partner to pair with the striker from Malta.

For Minnesota, look for Simone Bracalello to try to make an impact on the game. Bracalello also trialed with Carolina this spring before the Minnesota combine but with the talent-laden roster of the RailHawks they didn’t have room for developing the 24-year-old Italian. Lagos said he was very pleased with Bracalello last week as he opened some space in key spots late in the game with the team struggling to get momentum. “He also held the ball up for us nicely,” said Lagos. Don’t expect to see Bracalello start but more likely you will see the striker in the second half as a sub.

Over the last three years, the RailHawks have gone a combined 5-0-1 in the first month of the season, and they have outscored their opponents 8-2 in those six matches. Also, the Carolina team is 12-2-2 at WakeMed Soccer Park under coach Rennie since he was hired as manager last season. In the three years as a team, Carolina is 20-11-12 in home league matches.

17 Responses
  1. Super Rookie permalink
    April 16, 2010

    I don’t think it was as bad as a 4am flight. Players at MOA said the flight takes off at 630am, but they needed to wake up at 4am to fix their faux-hawks in honor of Platter.

  2. Jeff Wolter permalink
    April 16, 2010

    15 players??? Are you kidding me?
    Because they’re in such good shape??

    Thats 2 big Ms
    When we get to 10 I’m going to implode… 🙁

  3. Demolition Man permalink
    April 16, 2010

    Any updates on Crayton?

    Also Brian you might want to update the description for IMS on Google. The Thunder are still mentioned as our USL/NASL team.

  4. April 16, 2010

    As mentioned in the above article too much swelling for MRI to be taken yet.

    I have no idea what you are talking about IMS on Google? Link?

  5. Demolition Man permalink
    April 16, 2010

    If you do a search for IMS on Google you’ll see what I mean. I would make a screen cap for u but I am typing this on my Droid.

  6. April 16, 2010

    If I search for IMS I don’t see what you’re talking about. If I search for Inside Minnesota Soccer I do see it but am pretty sure those are categories in IMS and what’s happening is Google is looking at what I’ve posted most about which is “Minnesota Thunder” coming in with 158 posts. Thats the #1 posted category. If you look to your right and use the pull down category finder you can see the number of posts I’ve made for each of the categories. I don’t know of anyway to change that in google. Google is just seeing the categories and posting them under Inside Minnesota Soccer.

  7. Demolition Man permalink
    April 16, 2010

    Okay I’m at home on my PC which is far easier to post on than my Droid… not that the Droid is hard to use but I’m not quite used to using it yet for posting on blogs/forums.

    The description below the link to IMS reads:

    “News from the United Soccer Leagues, Minnesota Thunder, Rochester Thunder PDL, MTA, MYSA, MSHSL, and MIAC.”

    Hopefully this makes more sense now that I can clarify what I mean by the MN Thunder still mentioned in the IMS description. 🙂

  8. April 16, 2010

    Exactly as I had stated previously.

  9. Super Rookie permalink
    April 16, 2010


    Where are the non-believers…?

  10. Neal aka Lightning Striker permalink
    April 16, 2010


  11. Demolition Man permalink
    April 16, 2010


  12. Soccer Boy permalink
    April 16, 2010

    I am ready to once again proclaim that this team is better than last years MN Thunder…however, I am going to wait another couple matches. Joe Warren is da bomb!!!

  13. teucer permalink
    April 16, 2010

    Congratulations to the Stars on tonight’s result.

    Carolina was not at its best; Minnesota basically was, and totally earned that win. It was hard to believe I was seeing the same team I’d watched on the live feed from the Vancouver game.

  14. Nordmann permalink
    April 16, 2010


  15. Jeff Wolter permalink
    April 16, 2010

    15 player looked just fine, good tactics made up the rest of the bench.
    Manny gets a 🙂

  16. Tom permalink
    April 17, 2010

    Nice effort and congrats to everyone involved at NSC for their first win. It’s a pity they’ve lost Less and Crayton (two starters) as not only would they have elevated the team even more, but would have provided them the depth they seem to be lacking. It’s a long season and quality depth becomes more important as the season rolls on. Much improved midfield possession (Gao looks great) and front line danger. Two games in and things are looking up!

  17. teucer permalink
    April 18, 2010

    I can’t say it’s all that big a shame to not be able to start Crayton… not after what Joe Warren proved he could do. With a second-choice keeper who looks like that, I can’t wait to see how the Stars do with the full starting eleven working together that nicely.

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