NSC Minnesota Stars Topple Carolina RailHawks on the Road
The newest sports franchise in Minnesota earned their first win on the road at WakeMed Soccer Complex in Cary, North Carolina on Friday evening. The NSC Minnesota Stars defeated the Carolina RailHawks 1-0 in a game that saw Daniel Wasson score the first goal ever for the Stars but more importantly, the first and only goal of the game.
I thought it was a group effort and I couldn’t name a man of the match. All the players stepped up and decided to help the team.
Stars Head Coach Manny Lagos
The RailHawks, who are looked upon as one of the favorites in the USSF D-2 Pro League to top the table, struggled to control any part of the game in the first half as the Stars came out hard, pressuring high up the field and not allowing the RailHawks time on the ball. The Stars on the other hand moved the ball well in a game that saw most of the play in the midfield go through Johnny Menyongar. Warren Ukah held the ball well up top and was tireless. So was Daniel Wasson who had to make several positional changes throughout the game but did so with fluidity.
In the 37th minute Minnesota was threatening and after a scramble in the box the ball was deflected outside the 6. RailHawks goalkeeper Eric Reed had come out to clear the ball and found himself caught out. Wasson made a run into the area and let go a shot that found the net high and slightly left of center putting the Stars up 1-0. At the end of the half Minnesota had a 9-5 shot advantage.
The second half saw Minnesota continue to press. But as the Stars started to tire, Carolina improved on its scoring chances that called on Minnesota goalkeeper Joe Warren to come up with huge saves. Warren had struggled early in the second half of last week’s game against Vancouver when he came in as a replacement for Louis Crayton, who sustained an injury to his knee.
In the 88th minute, Carolina’s Matt Bobo nearly drew the game even when he headed a Josh Gardner cross from six yards out, but Warren was up to the task making a spectacular save.
“In the second half Joe showed some of the qualities that he’s always had,” said head coach Manny Lagos. “I was really happy for him because that’s not an easy situation for him to step into given the emotional week the team had had. Keepers, as you know, are a different breed and it’s not always easy to step in. But he embraced the challenge and played great tonight.”
The RailHawks outshot Minnesota 6-5 in the second half but Minnesota ended the game with a 14-11 advantage on chances.
“I think that’s a compliment to the guys and the effort they put in to play a complete game,” Lagos reflected. “I think we dictated the tempo for big parts of the game which led to some good chances.”
“I thought it was a group effort and I couldn’t name a man of the match. All the players stepped up and decided to help the team. Johnny (Menyongar) really stepped up as a leader and a veteran and he made sure we created the tempo we wanted. Danny (Wasson) as a new player, he’s stepped into a couple of new positions throughout the game and really seemed to play those positions seamlessly and continuing the tempo even though he changed positions.
“I’m just very happy to get the first win. It’s been a very challenging 3 months. I think it’s still a long season and there’s a lot more work to do. We have 3 games in a week now so there’s not a lot of time to reflect on tonight. When I look at the work that the NSC has put into this team I am very excited to be part of that, particularly in light of where we played tonight and that we faced up against a very difficult environment and a very good team.
Devin Del Do and Andrei Gotsmanov both sustained knocks that caused them to be substituted out of the game. Lagos said he’s concerned with his injury situation and said both players will be evaluated in the coming days.
The Stars’ next game is Wednesday, April 21, at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamón, Puerto Rico against the Islanders. The 7:05 PM CT game will be the Islanders’ first of the season. The game should be streamed live and again the game can be watched on the NSC Stars Video website page.
Minnesota then scurries back home and has only 2 days to prepare for their Saturday, April 24, home opener at the National Sports Center which will be a 7:05 CT start. Again, the game can be viewed at the NSC website and tickets are available by going here.
MINNESOTA 1, CAROLINA 0
CAR: GK Eric Reed, D John Gilkerson, D Mark Schulte, D Matt Bobo, D Greg Shields, M Amir Lowery, M Josh Gardner, M Joseph Kabwe (Gregory Richardson, 46), M Daniel Paladini (Andriy Budnyy, 76), M Cory Elenio (Matt Watson, 71), F Etienne Barbara
MIN: GK Joe Warren, D Andres Arango, D Kevin Friedland, D Daniel Wasson, D Brian Kallman, D Kyle Altman, M Andrei Gotsmanov (Simone Bracalello, 63), M Devin Del Do (Chris Clements, 30), M Leilei Gao (Melvin Tarley, 90), F Johnny Menyongar, F Warren Ukah
MIN: Daniel Wasson, 37
MIN: Daniel Wasson, 47; Simone Bracalello, 70