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


Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang 5 FINAL
Washington - LP: J. Zimmermann 3
Atlanta - LP: S. Marimon 5 FINAL
Toronto - WP: B. Cecil 6
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 12 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 3
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 4 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 2
Cincinnati - LP: H. Bailey 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: C. Martinez 5
San Diego - LP: C. Kimbrel 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: Z. Rosscup 7
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1
Milwaukee - LP: K. Lohse 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 6
Miami - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 5
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 4
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 9 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0
Oakland - WP: J. Hahn 5 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: Y. Ventura 0
Arizona - LP: R. De La Rosa 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: C. Heston 4
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 3 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 6
Texas - LP: C. Lewis 1 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Hernandez 3
Washington 93 FINAL
Toronto 86
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Golden State 106
Milwaukee 91 FINAL
Chicago 103
Dallas 108 FINAL
Houston 118
Minnesota 1 FINAL
St. Louis 4
Detroit 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Winnipeg 1 FINAL
Anaheim 2
Houston 1 FINAL
D.C. 1
Orlando City 0 FINAL
Columbus 3
Toronto FC 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 3
Seattle 3 FINAL
Colorado 1
Vancouver FC 1 FINAL
Real Salt Lake 0
Sporting Kansas City 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2


question of the day

Poll: Who will be the Wild's MVP against St. Louis?

Weekly Question





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