Minnesota Stars Drop Another Match to Tampa Bay Rowdies
The Minnesota Stars dropped yet another match to the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, Florida by a score of 2-0. Stars head coach Manny Lagos had said before the match his Stars seem to struggle against Tampa which he called one of the best teams in the league.
Indeed the Stars have lost 2 of the 3 matches against the Rowdies this year with a draw being the other result, which was achieved mostly by Stars reserve players during Minnesota’s long road trip and Open Cup run. Minnesota has a 0-4-3 record against Tampa in regular season play over the last two season.
Minnesota certainly had their chances in this match and lack of finishing ended up being their demise. The Rowdies outshot Minnesota 19-18 in this attacking match, forcing Stars goalkeeper Matt VanOekel into 10 saves and Tampa’s keeper Jeff Attinella into 5.
Mike Ambersley, who has struggled to get his scoring prowess of 2011 going this season, opened the Rowdies’ account with a goal off a cross served up in the 55th minute with an assist to former Stars player Luke Mulholland.
The Rowdies struck again in the 88th minute when striker Tsuyoshi Yoshitake, who had been named NASL Player of the Week the two previous weeks, got on the end of a ball then let go from distance to blast the ball past VanOekel.
The Stars played good possession ball in the first half but were unable to finish on their chances. Simone Bracalello forced a diving save from Attinella in the 19th minute from a free kick.
In the 27th minute, Miguel Ibarra let go a 35 yard half-volley shot that dropped and beat Attinella but not the frame as the ball caromed away for a goal kick. Another sequence saw a ball crossed from Bracalello on the left side of goal. As Ibarra closed to finish from 2 yards out from goal and Attinella already committed at the far post, Tampa cleared the ball just past the waiting rookie midfielder.
“We didn’t give up, but the Rowdies came out and played a better second half,” Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos said. “We played a good game, but we need to get better moving forward.”
“We took control early in the second half,” said Ambersley. “That was a huge part of the game and we shifted the momentum.”
With the loss the Stars drop to 4th place in the NASL standings which is the lowest position they have held this season.