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Stars vs. Puerto Rico: Streaks End As Stars Win 4-0

We mentioned all of the Stars' streaks before the match. Call us a jinx, but those streaks are all over now, as the Stars ran the Puerto Rico Islanders out of NSC Stadium, scoring late in the first half and twice early in the second half and winning 4-0.

Straight from the second-half kickoff, Miguel Ibarra pushed down the center of the field, then knocked it out wide on the left for an unmarked Jamie Watson. Watson didn't even bother to take a touch, curling the ball around a diving keeper and into the far corner first time, one of the goals of the year for Minnesota.

(We also have to mention his goal celebration, which will likely go down as the best of the season. Stars fans have chanted "YOU DIVE LIKE JAMIE WATSON" for years, going back to a match in 2005, so Watson - as the Stars supporters waved the scuba diving flag they've reserved specially for him - ran over to the supporters, then fell to the ground in a dive. That's just funny.)

Just five minutes later, Amani Walker drove a shot off the post, and walked away forlornly, looking snakebitten - but only two minutes later, he too was on the scoresheet. In the 52nd minute, Ibarra picked up a loose ball on the right side of the field and swung a cross through the penalty area, where Walker was running to head the ball back across the keeper and into the net. It was his seventh goal of the year - the most by any Stars player in the club's three-year history.

After that goal, the Stars looked to be coasting on the strong south breeze blowing through the stadium - as well they might. Their nine-game winless streak has now become a five-game unbeaten streak. Their place in the playoffs is assured - and they're even into a tie for fifth place with Carolina and a point behind fourth-place Fort Lauderdale (though the former has two games in hand, and the latter one.) Their two remaining games, at Puerto Rico and at league-leading San Antonio, now become battles for playoff places rather than a fight for a playoff spot.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.