Minnesota Stars FC welcomes the league-leading San Antonio Scorpions to NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota for the first time in history Saturday night. The teams have met just once this season, a 0-0 stalemate at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio, Texas.
The hosts are coming off of a three-game road trip that yielded just a single point, a 1-1 draw with FC Edmonton. Martin Nuñez put the Stars ahead of the Eddies with his fifth goal of the season a minute before the half, but teammate Ernest Tchoupe was unfortunate to put the ball in the back of his own net in the 88th minute to level the match for Edmonton. The tie means the Stars are now winless in their last seven on the road, their last away victory coming against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium back on May 19th.
San Antonio is also coming into the match off a 1-1 tie with FC Edmonton, in a match that featured a three-hour lightning delay. On Wednesday, the visiting Scorpions took the lead early through Jonathan Greenfield, but conceded an equalizer from Yashir Pinto in first half stoppage time. San Antonio defended well a man down after Josue Soto was shown his second yellow card of the match to earn a deserved point.
The only meeting between the sides this season, the teams’ first-ever meeting, was in the middle of both sides’ U.S. Open Cup runs. The Stars rested several of their regular starters for the match, but proved to be a tough match for the Scorpions offense. Goalkeeper Matt VanOekel, a regular between the sticks for Minnesota, collected NASL Defensive Player of the Week honors after making seven saves against San Antonio en route to his fourth shutout of the season.
The draw in Edmonton increased the Scorpions lead to two points over both the Puerto Rico Islanders and Tampa Bay Rowdies, although the team no longer has a game in hand. Minnesota is currently fourth in the standings with 27 points, but as the playoff race starts to heat up, the Stars—who have won just three of their last ten matches — will have to find form soon or risk falling down the table.
Minnesota Stars FC vs. San Antonio Scorpions
Saturday, August 11, 2012— 8:30 P.M. EDT
2012 Series: Tied, 0-1-0, 1 point
Minnesota San Antonio
Head Coach Manny Lagos Tim Hankinson
2012 Records 4th: 7-6-7, 27 points 1st: 10-6-4, 36 points
Last Five Games W L L L T T W W L T
Goals Leader Simone Bracalello (5) Pablo Campos (16)
Martin Nuñez (5)
Assists Leader Brian Kallman (4) Esteban Bayona (5)
Walter Ramirez (5)
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