Image courtesy mnstarsfc.com
For the second straight match, the Stars couldn't score, extending the team's winless streak to six games.
Back in mid-July, the Minnesota Stars scored twice in the first half, with Martin Nunez and Kentaro Takada finding the net against Tampa Bay. The Rowdies got one back in the second half, but the Stars held on for the 2-1 win.
Since then, the Stars have played six matches. 540 minutes, give or take some stoppage time. That's nine hours of soccer. And in those nine hours, they've found the net just twice. Three matches ago, Nunez scored against Edmonton late in the first half, and since the Stars have been completely goal-less.
Saturday night in Atlanta, Minnesota got as good of a chance as they are likely to get. With a half-hour left, Silverbacks defender Ciaran O'Brien was sent off - apparently for something he said, away from the play - thus reducing Atlanta to ten men for the remainder of the game. Atlanta is in last place in the NASL, and has a defense that leaks like a sieve anyway; the Silverbacks had conceded more goals than any other team in the league.
Even so - and despite a great chance for forward Amani Walker, who came on as sub - Minnesota couldn't score.
The team's winless drought - four losses and two draws in the last six games, despite the team conceding just six goals in that span - is catching up to it in the standings, as well. Minnesota's now dropped down to sixth place, the final playoff spot in the league.
Yes, the Stars are still seven points ahead of seventh-placed Edmonton. But if they can't start getting some goals - and the three points in the standings that accompany those goals - they'll be staring up at the playoff spots pretty quickly.