Skip to content

Minnesota Stars Frustrated with Edmonton Draw

2012 August 26
by Brian Quarstad

Justin Davis goes over the back of Antonio Rago to hit a late header at the Edmonton goal. Photo by Jeremy Olson – www.digitalgopher.net

Minnesota Stars FC 1-1 FC Edmonton

The Minnesota Stars were looking to mix things up a bit when they played FC Edmonton on Saturday night at the NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minn. The Stars were sitting on a 6 match winless streak with only 2 goals scored during that time. Starting up top was Amani Walker for usual starter Simone Bracalello. The Italian forward who has 5 goals on the season has struggled as of late. Bracalello last scored on July 18 in a losing effort at home against Ft. Lauderdale and is averaging only 1 goal for every 3 matches played. Walker was hot early in the season scoring 4 goals but was untracked after a midseason injury.

The other switch was rookie Kevin Venegas for Lucas Rodriguez on the left side. Venegas played well early in the season in place of Lucas Rodriguez who was out with hernia surgery. The former Cal State Fullerton player was left to substitutes duty after Rodriquez returned to match fitness. Rodriguez still has no goals to his name in 2012.

The Stars pressured early and the risks payed off. In the 17th minute Brian Kallman took a long throw in from the right side of the field and near the end line. The ball made it into Edmonton’s penalty box and was headed up by Walker. The Eddies’ recent addition, Bryan Arguez, was next to get a head on the ball that spit out to Dias. The central defender tried his luck with a shot but was blocked by Arguez and deflected into Miguel Ibarra who knew little about it. The carom went back to Walker who momentarily was able to shield the ball just long enough for Dias to take a swipe at it. The big central defender made no mistake from 7 yards out, pounding his shot hard and low to the far post and putting the Stars up 1-0 to take the early lead.

The Stars continued to press and in the 30th minute Venegas dribbled just inside the penalty box and laid a looping left-footed shot to the far post that just missed by inches.

Despite the pressure the first half ended with Minnesota and Edmonton each taking 5 shots but the Stars never forced Eddies goalkeeper Lance Parker to make a save.

Just four minutes in the second half the Stars looked to have taken a 2-0 lead. After a string of nice passes from Minnesota that started with Ibarra after he picked the pockets of Edmonton at midfield, the former UC Irvine player stripped Edmonton of the ball with the hustle and tenacity that Stars fans have become accustomed to from the 22-year-old midfielder. However, the play was called offside in a very tight decision that once again went against the home team at the NSC Stadium.

Just a few minutes later it was Ibarra again as he beat his defender down the right side and then hit his shot from close range to the corner of the near post. The blast was on target and would have been goal-bound if not for Parker’s quick reaction save which deflected the ball over the goal.

Soon after Walker squandered yet another Stars chance on a breakaway, shooting high and wide in a one-on-one situation with Parker.

After a good spell of possession by Edmonton and a Minnesota giveaway near the half, a quick ball was played down the right line to Edmonton’s Serisay Barthelemy who laid a short cross from just on the edge of the Stars penalty box. Yashir Pinto received the ball and attempted to dribble though defensive traffic but was stopped nicely by a sliding Kyle Altman. The central defender then cleared the ball from the box while laying on the ground. Edmonton’s Bryan Arguez picked the ball up and with very little pressure took two touches forward before unleashing a 23-yard blast that just cleared the upper right corner of the Minnesota net. Even while cheating to that side, Stars goalkeeper Matt VanOekel couldn’t get his gloves to the ball in time and the Eddies knotted the match in the 74th minute.

There was more action for both teams around the 85th minute. First substitute Michael Cox took Altman to the goal box and slotted his shot across the mouth of the net forcing VanOekel into a drop save. Just seconds later Ibarra played a self pass around his defender, raced to the ball and beat Parker. Faced with the choice to cross or shoot from an acute angle, Ibarra chose the later and hit the pipe, sending the ball out of bounds.

The score ended 1-1 and the draw keeps the Eddies within 7 points of Minnesota and the 6th and final playoff spot. Carolina, who defeated the Silverbacks in Atlanta on Saturday night, goes ahead of the Stars in the standings with 31 points, Minnesota have 29 points.

“Our job tonight was winning or at least don’t lose,” said FC Edmonton coach Harry Sinkgraven. “And of course we did everything to win the game. We had chances, they had chances. It was a very open game at the end, very back and forth. We did everything we could.”

Stars central defender and goal scorer Cristiano Dias was asked if the team is feeling the frustration of the current 7 game winless streak and the struggle to finish scoring chances.

“We are trying hard, but we just can’t get the goals,” said Dias. “There’s frustration there for sure because we had them most of the game and then they score on a long shot. It was a really good goal but a little bit of frustration for sure because we had the three points.”

“When you play as well as I think we have and not finish, that’s a part of the game. So maybe we’re not playing as well as we feel (we are) and the reality is that there is a mental side of this game where confidence really comes into play,” said Stars coach Manny Lagos. “Certainly we can all feel it on the field tonight – the tension. We were only up a goal when we should have had a couple of more, then we don’t have our best second half and the next thing you know we drop some points once again at home.”

Lagos commented on the team’s frustration which showed a number of times during the match with dropped heads. The Stars coach said that’s the reality of the game and it’s not uncommon for heads to drop when giving up a goal and not finishing good chances.

“There’s no doubt about it, there are points in the game that are deflating if you’re not finishing plays off and you’re not getting results. I expect us to come back, have a good week of training and play the best team in the league (San Antonio) at home next week. It’s a big game for us.”

Stars central defender Cristiano Dias chosen as the Brit’s Pub/IMSoccer News – Minnesota Stars FC Man of the Match

Cristiano Dias, who was named the Brits Pub/IMS Soccer News – Man of the Match, said after the game that he would give up his goal for a victory.

“I don’t even remember the last time I scored. It makes me happy but I would have exchanged everything for three points tonight.  We really needed that, especially against a team we are fighting directly with for the playoffs. If we had won tonight, it would have pretty much been done for them.”

Dias was chosen for his solid defensive play and for scoring the Stars’ only goal.

Dias will receive a $50.00 gift certificate from Brit’s Pub and Eating Establishment for being chosen the Brit’s Pub/IMSoccer News – Minnesota Stars FC Man of the Match

3 Responses
  1. Soccer Boy permalink
    August 26, 2012

    The AR on the east side of the pitch struggled all night. I have several videos and still photos where the AR was out of position and made the wrong call. Probably the worst was in the second half with Edmonton attacking to the north. MVO made a brilliant save which made the “bad call” irrelevant, but a still photo I took showed the Edmonton forward was still in an onside position long after the ball was played. Thankfully the “missed” calls were really not game changers like what happened against the Scorpions two weeks ago.

    From the way I see things, the real breakdown seems to be doing the simple things. Aside from two 1 v. GK situations we missed, the Stars seem to be really timid in playing diagonal passes into the forwards. There also seems to be some confusion or lack of understanding as to who is going where. You would hope that this is something they would have at this point in the season. The subs have also failed to make an impact in the season. I also would have like them change fields early on and get Ibarra more involved in the game. From what I saw, the guy was basically standing by himself wide open on the far side of the pitch, and really was not getting the ball. With Ibarra, as long as the ball is within the same zip code, he can use his speed to outrun anyone and get to it.

  2. August 26, 2012

    Same AR as the notorious San Antonio match. Personally, I thought he had a better game but that’s just my opinion. You were actually positioned better to see runs on that end than I was.

  3. John permalink
    August 26, 2012

    we need more goals we need to finish better and keep the lead

    Edmonton was a must win

    the next games are going to be tough

Comments are closed.

css.php