Minnesota Stars FC Continue Pattern Against Fort Lauderdale Strikers
The Minnesota Stars FC’s undefeated streak from earlier this season has become a distant memory during the last few games. The Stars have struggled for consistency, losing just about every other game over the last two months.
Unfortunately for the Stars, the team was due for a loss after winning against the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 last Thursday. The Stars looked to break the curse against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Wednesday night.
The Stars started VanOekel, Davis, Dias, Kallman, Tchoupe, Hlavaty, Takada, Venegas, Rodriguez, Nunez and Bracalello. The Strikers decided to field Glaeser, Lorenz, Stewart, Shanosky, Gordon, Restrepo, Orozco, Anderson, King, Herron and Paulo Jr.
Both teams shared scoring opportunities, but neither could capitalize in the first minutes. In the 15th minute, Bracalello showed some flashy skill in a largely solo effort but powered the ball over the bar.
The first booking of the game came in the 29th minute when Stewart argued with the referee. Just two minutes later, the Stars had their next best scoring opportunity when the crossbar denied Rodriguez a goal.
The Strikers took full advantage of all counterattacks. The team’s quick reactions resulted in an Anderson goal in the 34th minute. The Stars couldn’t catch a break, as Bracalello earned a yellow card soon after for what the referee deemed a harsh challenge.
The bad tackles seemed to be contagious as the referee showed the Strikers’ King a yellow card in the 40th minute. Even with the fouls, the Stars could not seem to shift the momentum and Anderson scored again in the 42nd minute. The Floridian’s strike sailed straight into the upper left corner of the goal.
Even at the 45-minute mark, the Stars had not given up on the first half. Bracalello hit the post after a Hlavaty cross and Kallman couldn’t manage the rebound to pull one back before the whistle.
The Stars had played well in the first 45 minutes, but the post had denied the team at least three goals. The Strikers capitalized on the counterattacking strategy that worked for them and scored two goals, a sizeable gap for the Stars to bridge in the second half.
Aim continued to be a problem for the Stars in the final half. While the team avoided the posts and crossbar, the players over-corrected and started to shoot wide.
In the 62nd minute, Herron earned a yellow for a hard tackle. Two minutes later, the breakthrough for the Stars finally came. Bracalello, by far the most involved and dangerous player on the field for the home team, received an assist from Nunez in the box. His strike did not miss and the Stars pulled one back for a score line of 2-1.
The tables seemed to have turned in the Stars’ favor in the 68th minute when Nunez put the ball in the back of the net for the equalizer. The referee, however, had a different idea and disallowed the goal for offside. Nunez received a yellow card for his troubles.
The Strikers started a parade of substitutions in the 71st minute when Pecka replaced Paulo Jr. The Stars followed with Walker coming on for Rodriguez in the 77th minute. A minute later, Thompson switched with Herron for the Strikers. In the 81st, Blake entered the game for an injured King. The Stars made two more substitutions in the 84th minute when Nunez and Venegas exited the pitch in favor of Moura and Chin.
The Stars maintained pressure on the Strikers, but another goal wasn’t forthcoming. In added time, the Stars earned a corner kick and soon called for a handball against Lorenz. The penalty wasn’t called, however, and Glaeser managed to save Bracalello’s tap in.
Eventually the clocked wound down and the Stars suffered another loss in its rather vicious cycle. Although the team played well and deserved a few more goals than the scoreboard showed, the team couldn’t break the every-other-game losing mold.
The Stars will take on the Carolina RailHawks away Saturday. The good news for the Stars is – if the pattern can be believed – the team is due for a win.