NSC Minnesota Stars seize early edge in finals

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2011 - 12:05 AM

Three goals provided the home team a good start in the total-goal NASL championship series with Fort Lauderdale.

The Minnesota Stars don't have an owner. And they made the North American Soccer League playoffs with a victory in their last regular-season game, putting them in sixth place.

But Saturday the Stars put themselves in an enviable position to win the NASL championship when they beat Fort Lauderdale 3-1 at the National Sports Center in Blaine in the opener of the two-game, total-goal league finals. Attendance was a season-high 4,511.

Game 2 will be next Saturday at Lockhart Stadium in Florida. The Strikers have to beat the Stars, who are owned by the league, by two goals to force a shootout or by three to win in regulation time.

"It's halftime, so again I have to temper our enjoyment," Stars coach Manny Lagos said. "I will say this ... what a great night of soccer for Minnesota.

"I thought we played very well. We scored all four goals."

They actually did. With the Stars leading 1-0 early in the second half, the Strikers tied the score when a long pass to the far right post bounced off Stars defender Justin Davis and into the net in the 52nd minute.

"My favorite point of the game was how we reacted to the own goal," Lagos said. "The guys picked each other up. We just got back at it."

Quickly. In the next minute, Luke Mulholland scored on a 16-yard shot from the right side through traffic. His goal put the Stars ahead 2-1. Davis, the guilty party on the Strikers goal at the other end, had the assist on this goal.

"It was class," Lagos said of Mulholland's goal. "He was composed. He found the spot where he wanted to hit it."

Lucas Rodriguez made it 3-1 in the 78th minute, scoring on an off-speed shot from 15 yards.

"[Lucas] just drove forward," Lagos said. "It was such a nice individual play."

So was the Stars' first goal three minutes into the game. Neil Hlavaty took a free kick from 20 yards out, in the penalty arc. His low shot curved around the Strikers' wall of players and into the lower right corner of the net.

"I just kept it low and the goalie reacted late," Hlavaty said.

The Strikers were 2-0-2 against the Stars during the regular season and had shut them out 3-0 and 1-0 in their past two meetings.

"It was kind of different playing with a goal from that early," Hlavaty said. "But we kept the same tempo the whole night and brought it to them."

The Stars outshot the Strikers 12-6.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was to win it all," Hlavaty said. "We knew we could. Unfortunately we fell to sixth, but I don't think that really defines our team being a sixth seed."


    Game 2: 6:30 p.m. Saturday • At Fort Lauderdale

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 FINAL
Edmonton 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 FINAL
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57


question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the season?

Weekly Question





Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters