Seven Game Winless Streak Familiar for Minnesota Stars but Coach Lagos says This Year is Different
In 2011, the Stars went 0-6-1 from August 10th to September 6th. During that span the Stars were outscored 13-3 while playing Montreal twice, Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Edmonton and Tampa. Their only draw was against league-leading Carolina, a 1-1 affair in Cary, NC. on August 17th. Also of note, all but 3 of those matches were played on the road.
This year’s 7-match winless streak sees a Stars team that is perhaps in better form both defensively and offensively but still lacking goals. From July 18th until Saturday night, August 25th, Minnesota had gone 0-3-2 and have been outscored 7-3. While the Stars have more ties than last year’s record and have held teams to 6 fewer goals, Minnesota’s offense have still only mustered 3 goals. Just like last year, that has come with 3 matches at home and 4 on the road, playing Edmonton twice, Atlanta, Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Puerto Rico and San Antonio.
Stars head coach Manny Lagos commented on the two streaks after his team’s 1-1 draw against Edmonton on Saturday evening. He said even though both teams have gone through a seven game winless streak, he thinks this year’s skid needs to be handled differently because Minnesota is showing better defense and better possession on the field and are just lacking confidence from not being able to find the back of the net.
“This year I think our streak has better soccer in it,” said Lagos. “So we are going to try to assess it a little differently than last year. The reality is that there is a mental side of this game where confidence really comes into play. I think we need to figure out a way to become mentally stronger and have some guys be excited about finishing and show ourselves, our team and our fans that we are better than this in terms of our offensive production.”
In 2011, Minnesota snapped out of their slump, completed their regular season and ran through the playoffs scoring 13 goals in 8 matches and only allowing 7 with a 5-1-2 record on their way to the NASL Championship.
The 2012 Stars will need to get on track quickly with that same sort of momentum if they are to once again qualify for the NASL playoffs and make a run deep into post-season play. Their first chance will be next Saturday at the NSC Stadium when they take on league-leading San Antonio who lost on Saturday night in Fort Lauderdale, 2-1. The Scorpions are now 1-2-1 in their last 4 games with that only win coming at Minnesota’s expense on August 11th, a narrow 1-0 victory that saw the Stars outplay San Antonio in every aspect of the match but the numbers on the scoreboard.
After that things don’t get any easier for Minnesota as they play Edmonton again at home, 2nd place Puerto Rico at home and finish the season with two road games, the first a return match with the Islanders in Puerto Rico and then San Antonio to play the first-place Scorpions.