Minnesota Stars FC travels to Cary, North Carolina to take on the Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park, Saturday night. The last time the Stars visited WakeMed they were torn apart by the RailHawks attack, conceding five goals in a 5-1 rout that ended a nine-match unbeaten streak to start the season.
Carolina hasn't played since the thrilling 3-3 draw with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on July 7th. Former Strikers’ midfielder Mike Palacio opened the scoring for the RailHawks inside the first quarter of an hour, but a goal from Darnell King and a Walter Restrepo double had the Strikers up 3-1 with less than four minutes left in regular time. Mike Palacio scored his second of the match in the 87th minute, before setting up Ty Shipalane’s injury-time winner with the final play of the match.
The Stars last match was Wednesday night against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, however the Stars weren't as fortunate as the RailHawks in terms of getting a result at home. The Strikers went up 2-0 thanks to the sensational Mark Anderson, but Simone Bracalello looked to inspire a Stars comeback with a goal in the 64th minute, but luck wasn't on Minnesota's side. Martin Nuñez put the ball in the back of the net, but was adjudged offside, and the Stars hit the woodwork on three separate occasions as the game ended 2-1 to the visitors in front of over 4,000 fans at NSC Stadium.
With the win, the Strikers moved ahead of Carolina in the standings, and closed the gap on Minnesota to just two points. A Carolina victory would level the team on points with Fort Lauderdale, while also closing the gap on the Stars to two points, for an hour at least. A Minnesota win would put the Stars level on points with the NASL's top side, San Antonio Scorpions, depending on the result of their match with the Strikers.
Carolina RailHawks vs. Minnesota Stars FC
Wednesday, July 18, 2012— 7:00 P.M. EDT
Wake Med Soccer Park
Webcast: NASL on ustream
2012 Series: Tied, 1-1-1, 4 points
2011 Series: Minnesota, 2-2-0, 8 points
Head Coach Colin Clarke Manny Lagos
2012 Records 5th: 5-6-5, 21 points 4th: 7-5-5, 26 points
Last Five Games W W L W T L W L W L
Goals Leader Nick Zimmerman (9) Simone Bracalello (5)
Assists Leader Austin Da Luz (3) Brian Kallman (3)
Ty Shipalane (3) Amani Walker (3)
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