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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.

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