The Stars and Eddies drew 1-1 in Edmonton earlier this month. (Photo courtesy mnstarsfc.com)

Stars Vs. Edmonton: Minnesota Draws 1-1 With Edmonton After Missed Chances

Minnesota couldn't take its chances again, and failed to win for the seventh straight match, drawing 1-1 with FC Edmonton at the National Sports Center.

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Stars Vs. Edmonton: Head Coach Manny Lagos "Disappointed"

Stars head coach Manny Lagos was clearly frustrated following Minnesota's 1-1 draw with Edmonton on Saturday night, but he brought out his philosophical side to speak with reporters.

"When you play as well as I think we have, and not finish, that's a part of the game," he said. "There's a mental side of this game, that confidence really comes into play."

His frustration was evident, though, and I'd suspect his players will be hearing about it, as Lagos spoke several times of a need to be "honest" with his team. "We're going to be honest that it's a group effort and we're not quite getting it done," he said. "We have to be honest about not winning games at home that we maybe should have won."

"It's disappointing, because I think we've played better than our results as of late."

The Stars have now failed to win in seven consecutive games - a streak that includes three draws and four losses. The team put together a similar winless run in August and September of last season, a slide that nearly knocked the eventual champions out of the playoffs. Lagos, however, didn't - or chose not to - see the parallel. "I think it's a little bit different cycle than last year, a little bit different mentality. I think this year our streak has better soccer in it."

"When something bad happens, heads are going to go down... We have to find a way to be mentally stronger and to have some guys be a little more excited about finishing. We have to show our fans, our team, and our club that we're better than this, in terms of offensive production."

Things don't get any easier next week; the Stars host league-leading San Antonio at home.

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A List Of Missed Stars Chances

Let me attempt to describe to you some of the chances not taken by the Stars.

  • 5' - Kevin Venegas picks a defender's pocket and is through on the goalkeeper, bearing down on him from the left corner of the penalty area. His shot, though, misses the goal and sails so far wide that it was actually nearer the corner flag than the goal.
  • 49' - Miguel Ibarra wins the ball in midfield and starts a move that ends with Ibarra himself driving a cross into the back of the net - but he's a yard offside, and the goal doesn't stand.
  • 51' - Ibarra uses his quickness to beat a defender to a long ball over the top. Coming in at a sharp angle from the right, he shoots - but Edmonton keeper Lance Parker gets a finger to it and pushes the shot over the top.
  • 60' - This time it's Amani Walker's turn to be through on goal with nobody but the keeper to beat, coming head-on with the whole goal to shoot at - but he puts the shot over the top.
  • 78' - Martin Nunez's shot from the edge of the area clearly hits a defender's arm, but the penalty appeal is ignored by the referee.
  • 86' - Keeper Parker tries to come out to clear a long ball, but Ibarra beats him to it and pokes it past him. With two Stars bearing down on goal and an open net, Ibarra chooses to go for goal from a sharp angle - and hits the outside of the post.

That's three one-on-ones with the keeper, one empty net, one penalty appeal waved off, and one time the ball was in the net but didn't count. You can see why the team is starting to look so deflated - they just can't get anything to go their way.

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Stars vs. Edmonton: Missed Chances Doom Minnesota To 1-1 Draw

Thanks to a handful of missed chances for the Stars, and a rocket from Edmonton midfielder Bryan Arguez, the Minnesota Stars and FC Edmonton drew 1-1 at the National Sports Center on Saturday night.

Miguel Ibarra and Amani Walker both had excellent chances to score in the second half, but neither could find a way through - and the Eddies made them pay. Kyle Altman cleared a ball from the Minnesota area from his backside, but could only clear as far as Arguez, who buried a shot from outside the penalty area past goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel.

The draw means that the two teams are still separated by seven points in the NASL standings, with five games to play. Minnesota currently holds the sixth spot in the standings, which is the final playoff spot.

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Stars Vs. Edmonton: Goal Drought Over, Stars Lead 1-0 At Half

It took just over four hours of soccer, but the Stars are back on the scoresheet - and through a method they've never used before. Center back Cristiano Dias put Minnesota back in the goal column, scoring for the first time in his two seasons with the Stars.

The goal came after a scramble in the Edmonton penalty area in the 17th minute. Eddies keeper Lance Parker attempted to punch a corner kick clear of the goal, but failed to do anything but put the ball straight up in the air; it fell to Dias, whose shot was blocked, but only as far as Neil Hlavaty. The stars midfielder headed the ball down to forward Amani Walker, who got just enough of a nudge on the ball to get it back to Dias, who was standing alone in front of the keeper. He may not have scored before for Minnesota, but he was plenty calm in front of the net, slotting home low on the left-hand side.

Edmonton defender Paul Hamilton earned a yellow card in the first half, as did the Stars' Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis.

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Stars vs. Edmonton: Nunez, Walker Start Up Front For Minnesota

The Minnesota Stars haven't scored for two matches and have struggled for goals during their current six-game winless streak. Forwards Martin Nunez (five goals this season, Minnesota's joint top scorer) and Amani Walker (four goals) will be tasked with breaking that streak, as the pair gets the start up front for the Stars on Saturday night at the National Sports Center.

New Stars signing Nate Polak makes the bench for Minnesota. The Nebraska native has yet to make his professional debut, but is available as another forward option for coach Manny Lagos off the bench.

On the other side, FC Edmonton has struggled even more mightily than the Stars for scoring - and has even less scoring experience in its lineup. Among the Edmonton starting lineup, only forward Kyle Porter (three goals) has tallied more than once. In attempt to combat this, the Eddies will start with three men up front.

The starting lineup:

Minnesota Stars FC


GK:
Matt Van Oekel
Defense: Kyle Altman - Justin Davis - Cristiano Dias - Brian Kallman
Midfield: Kevin Venegas - Neil Hlavaty - Kentaro Takada - Miguel Ibarra
Forward: Martin Nunez - Amani Walker

FC Edmonton

GK: Lance Parker
Defense: David Proctor - Kevin Hatchi - Paul Hamilton - Antonio Rago
Midfield: Adam West - Chris Kooy - Bryan Arguez
Forward: Serisay Barthelemy - Paul Craig - Kyle Porter

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Minnesota Stars Take on FC Edmonton In Must-Win Game For Edmonton

The Stars are seven points ahead of Edmonton for the final playoff spot, and a home win for Minnesota would just about finish the Eddies for the year.

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