Minnesota United FC and visiting FC Edmonton played to a 1-1 draw at in front of 3,874 spectators at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minn. on Saturday evening.
Brazilian defender Cristiano Dias that gave Minnesota the lead in the 76th minute, while FC Edmonton got the equalizer a minute later with a goal from forward Corey Hertzog.
Both sides were evenly matched in the first 10 minutes of the game and both goalkeepers, FC Edmonton’s Lance Parker and Minnesota’s Matt Van Oekel took early control over their areas not allowing any chances.
Minnesota's midfielder Calum Mallace had the best chance for the host in the 23rd minute when his shot was saved by keeper Parker.
It was 60 seconds later that striker Hertzog broke through the Minnesota backline and received the ball from midfielder Robert Garrett. Flying in at the far post, Hertzog’s final header was just wide of the home team’s net.
Only a few minutes later in the 26th minute, Minnesota United FC striker Max Griffin made a charging run into the Eddies box at the far post and sent a ball just wide of the visiting side’s far post.
In the 35th minute - Minnesota’s Mallace played a nice through ball to Mike Ambersley, but Parker was well aware of the play and came off his line to take care of the danger.
The half-time whistle came after two additional minutes of added time, but the score remained 0-0.
“I thought we played some good football,” said FC Edmonton Head Coach Colin Miller at the half. “We need to be more clinical in the second half. I think we played well at times, but we’ll need to improve to get the three points.”
After the restart, FC Edmonton earned their first chance of the half with some build up play down the far side of the field. Hertzog laid the ball off to fellow forward Daryl Fordyce, who once again passed it to Gagan Dosanjh. Dosanjh played it back into the middle of the field for Fordyce, who was just ahead of the pass and also just missed a rushing Neil Hlavaty.
Minnesota thought they had the lead in the 58th minute when the ball found it’s way passed Parker in net, but play was called offside and the game remained scoreless.
FC Edmonton once again earned a break in the match when Minnesota sub Sinisa Ubiparipovic retaliated poorly after a challenge to receive a straight red card.
The Eddies started to turn up the pressure as the game continued. In the 69th minute, Hlavaty sent in a screamer of a shot that Van Oekel did well to save. The consecutive play also saw the Eddies take a shot on net, but it went out for a goal kick.
The game took a competitive turn in the 75th minute. A Minnesota corner saw a unchallenged Dias direct a header passed Parker to give the home side the 1-0 lead. However, the Eddies responded in kind off of the resulting kick off. Defender Antonio Rago made the run and the cross into the box which found Hertzog lurking in the box and finished it passed Van Oekel to tie the game 1-1.
“It was more two points lost instead of a point gained,” said Miller after the final whistle. “It was some shocking defending on our part off the corner to give up the goal, but credit to the lads for the response.”
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