NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota is the venue for the last regular season meeting between Minnesota Stars FC and the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. The last time out, the Stars defeated the Strikers 2-1 at home, winning the season series between the teams with a 2-1-0 record and a game left to play.
The match against Fort Lauderdale will be the Stars fourth match of a four-game home stand that included big wins against Puerto Rico Islanders and Tampa Bay Rowdies, and a loss to a new-look Atlanta Silverbacks side. Last weekend the Stars returned to winning ways, defeating the Rowdies by two goals to one. Former Strikers forward Martin Nuñez opened the scoring, before Kentaro Takada scored the eventual game-winner .
At the weekend the Fort Lauderdale Strikers drew 2-2 with the league-leading San Antonio Scorpions at Lockhart Stadium. Andy Herron looked to have won the game for Fort Lauderdale with his second goal of the match, scoring off a free kick just outside the box in the 90th minute, but the Scorpions pressed for an equalizer and found it through Pablo Campos who pulled his team level with his league-high tenth goal of the season.
Campos’ stoppage-time equalizer means that the Strikers have dropped points three matches in a row because of an inability to maintain a lead. The week before, up 3-1 on the road against the Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale conceded twice in the dying minutes in the match to draw 3-3.
Should the Strikers take the lead, they will have to keep focus for the entire 90 minutes as the Stars are no strangers to scoring late goals. In the month of April alone, Minnesota scored three times in the final five minutes to snatch a win in Edmonton and a secure a dramatic draw in Atlanta. A win would see the Stars level on points with the league-leaders, San Antonio. The Strikers, seven points ahead of seventh-placed Atlanta, are hanging on for the sixth and final playoff berth as the gap between the two clubs continues to get smaller.
Minnesota Stars FC vs. Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Wednesday, July 18, 2012— 8:30 P.M. EDT
NSC Stadium Blaine, MN
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Minnesota, 2-1-0, 7 points
2011 Series: Fort Lauderdale, 2-2-0, 8 points
Minnesota Fort Lauderdale
Head Coach Manny Lagos Daryl Shore
2012 Records 4th: 7-5-4, 26 points 6th: 5-5-6, 21 points
Last Five Games W L W L W L W L T T
Goals Leader Simone Bracalello (4) Mark Anderson (7)
Martin Nuñez (4) Andy Herron (7)
Amani Walker (4)
Assists Leader Brian Kallman (3) Walter Restrepo (6)
Amani Walker (3)
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