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Stars vs. Edmonton: Injury-Time Equalizer Gives Edmonton 1-1 Draw

Shaun Saiko scored in injury time to give Edmonton a 1-1 draw, the second time the Stars and Eddies have played to that scoreline in three weeks.

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Stars vs. Edmonton: Late Equaliser Dooms Stars To Yet Another Draw

Another week for the Minnesota Stars. Another week without a win, another week with a relinquished second-half lead - and at least one more week of waiting to clinch a playoff berth. A late equalizer from Shaun Saiko gave Edmonton a second 1-1 draw in three weeks at the NSC - and kept the Eddies' (and the Atlanta Silverbacks') playoff chances mathematically alive, as both teams trail the Stars by eight points with three games to play.

Saiko's goal came with almost literally the last kick of the match, as an Eddies throw-in turned into Saiko driving across the top of the area, and bashing a shot past Matt Van Oekel to tie the game in injury time.

The wind reversed the personalities of the teams, as Edmonton - playing with the wind - suddenly looked much more lively, while the Stars fought into the gale, and were content to wait for set pieces and defensive miscues. Minnesota spent much of the first half playing the ball wide and attacking on the wings, but in the second half were unable to continue this. Instead, Martin Nunez and Jamie Watson regularly dropped back into the midfield, attempting to carry the ball forward through dribbling and, I guess, sheer force of will.

Edmonton, meanwhile, saw much more attacking through the wide forwards, in the persons of Michael Cox and Kyle Porter. Shaun Saiko had several half-chances in the center of the attack - though his final chance was the one that doomed Minnesota.

Minnesota plays Puerto Rico at home on Tuesday, its last home game of the season. They'll have another chance to clinch a playoff berth - but with a nine-game winless streak going, it doesn't seem so likely.

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Stars vs. Edmonton: Stars Lead 1-0 At Halftime

Stop me if you've heard this one: the Minnesota Stars lead 1-0 at halftime. Just like last week. And the week before - and both of those games ended in 1-1 draws. To say that another 1-1 draw appears to be on the cards would be an understatement.

The game was 17 minutes old when Amani Walker put the Stars in front. New signing Jamie Watson was fouled in his own half, but had the presence of mind to get up and move the ball quickly after two Edmonton players had stopped to argue with the ref. He took the ball deep into the Edmonton half, then pushed it out wide to Justin Davis on the overlap down the left wing. Davis knocked a cross back across the top of the six-yard box, where Walker was arriving to prod past the onrushing keeper.

Watson has been the attacking impetus for the Stars in the first half. He's shown creativity, scooping the ball from midfield over a defender to release Walker, though the big forward turned out to be just offside. He's also shown a willingness to shoot, driving a cross just wide of the post from in front of goal. If the Stars are to break their one-goal, hard-luck hoodoo, it looks like it'll be Watson that makes the difference.

Meanwhile, Edmonton has mostly been content to wait for set pieces and Stars defensive miscues, of which there have been several of each. Michael Cox was gifted a chance from a wayward pass, but with only the onrushing Matt Van Oekel to beat, his attempted curl around the keeper drifted wide of the far post. Cox has looked by far the most dangerous Eddie going forward.

One factor to keep an eye on: the wind is still whipping through the National Sports Center, from left to right in your internet box. The Stars had the wind-aided advantage in the first half, but Edmonton will have it in the second half as they search for the - seemingly inevitable - equalizer.

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