Minnesota Derailed 1-0 by Carolina
Blaine, Minn. (October 19, 2013) – Minnesota United FC (4W-2T-6L, 14pts) fall 1-0 to the Carolina RailHawks (5W-2T-5L, 17pts) Saturday afternoon at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine, MN. The loss drops out of contention for the 2013 North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl. A goal from Enzo Martinez in the 52nd minute was the difference in the match as the RailHawks remain in contention for the title game.
Minnesota and Carolina each desperately needed three points to keep their 2013 Soccer Bowl hopes alive and the RailHawks did so after earning their first win on the road in the 2013 campaign.
“I feel like we haven’t played well at home and dominated and I’m heartbroken after such a great first half,” said United head coach Manny Lagos. “The lack of goal scoring chances hurts and we have to pick our heads up and try to finish the season in the right way. I was still proud of the effort today and even responding from the goal I thought we had some good chances. I was proud of the effort but am just disappointed that we can’t get the result we want.”
United made some changes to the starting eleven, going with four new faces. Defenders Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis started as outside backs hoping to add a little more offensive flavor to the Minnesota back line. Kentaro Takada, making his first start since July 4th, as well as Lucas Rodriguez earned spots in the starting eleven helping to solidify the middle third.
Minnesota saw a good early chance in the 5th minute from a Floyd Franks free kick from 35 yards out. Minnesota defender Connor Tobin got the backwards header that forced an athletic tip over the bar from RailHawks keeper Akira Fitzgerald keeping the sides level.
In 13th minute Minnesota created a chance off of solid buildup play from the midfield. Speedster Miguel Ibarra found some open space on the left wing and fed a ball into Brazilian Pablo Campos, who then threaded it to Kevin Venegas but his shot drifted wide of Fitzgerald’s post.
Minnesota enjoyed their 3rd chance of the match in the 24th minute as Miguel Ibarra sent in an early through ball to Mike Ambersley, whose shot from the left edge of the 18 fell just wide of the right post. The RailHawks threatened in the 29th minute with a nice cross into the danger zone, but the shot was collected nicely by United keeper Matt VanOekel on the rain soaked pitch. The RailHawks followed this chance with a free kick from 20 yards out in the center of the field. The shot was parried by VanOekel and away from danger.
The best chance of the first half came from a Kevin Venegas cross from the right wing that found the darting near post run of Mike Ambersley, who managed a glancing header on it at the near post that bulged the outside netting.
United had the better run of play and scoring chances in the opening 45 minutes and as the sides entered the locker room at halftime, each looked to finish and take home three points. “I’m really disappointed we didn’t finish a couple of chances,” offered a disappointed Lagos at halftime, ‘It was a good half and we need to make sure we take care of the middle and once we break out we’ll be dangerous.”
Each side took the pitch in the second half with the same eleven on the field, hoping to get into the scoring column.
The deciding goal came in the 51st minute as RailHawks midfielder Enzo Martinez broke the deadlock on a strike from the right edge of the penalty box. It was a well struck ball that skidded beyond the outstretched gloves of Matt VanOekel.
An injury scare came in the 62nd minute came when RailHawks midfielder Enzo Martinez caught United defender Connor Tobin on the knee, forcing him to the turf for several minutes. Tobin was able to walk off the field under his own power and reenter the match.
Substitute Omar Daley found himself with the ball on the outskirts of the box in the 74th minute. A nice move got him around a RailHawks defender but his left-footed shot left a lot to be desired as it dribbled into the gloves of Fitzgerald. Miguel Ibarra tried his luck from the opposite side of the field in the 75th minute as he made a run from left wing to free himself up, but just like the Daley chance his shot goes harmlessly into Fitzgerald’s gloves.
Neither team could muster much offense or drama in the final 15 minutes as Minnesota tried to compile pressure on the RailHawks defensive backline. A Pablo Campos header from a Calum Mallace corner was the only remaining chance for United as they could not level the score. Minnesota loses for the 5th time at home in 2013.
Minnesota United plays its final home game of the 2013 season next Saturday, October 26 against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, 6:00 PM at the National Sports Center Stadium in Blaine. Tickets are available by calling 763.331.8777 or online at MNUnitedFC.com. The game will be televised live on KSTC-45TV.
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Minnesota lineup: GK Matt VanOekel; D Justin Davis, Aaron Pitchkolan, Connor Tobin, Kevin Venegas; M Lucas Rodriguez (Omar Daley, 61st), Floyd Franks (Calum Mallace, 61st), Kentaro Takada, Miguel Ibarra; F Mike Ambersley (Max Griffin, 78th), Pablo Campos
Minnesota unused subs: GK Mitch Hildebrandt; D Brian Kallman, Cristiano Dias; M Simone Bracalello
Opponent lineup: GK Akira Fitzgerald; D Jordan Graye, Paul Hamilton, Henry Kalungi, Kapono Low; M Enzo Martinez, Nick Millington, Zack Schilawski, Kenney Walker; F Brian Shriver (Cesar Elizondo, 52nd), Nicholas Addlery (Bryan Gaul, 82nd)
Opponent unused subs: GK Tim Murray, D Austen King; F Brian Ackley
CAR – Enzo Martinez (unassisted) 51st
CAR – Brian Shriver (Yellow Card) 6th
CAR – Zack Schilawski (Yellow) 57th
MNU – Aaron Pitchkolan (Yellow Card) 61st
CAR – Enzo Martinez (Yellow Card) 64th
CAR – Bryan Gaul (Yellow Card) 87th
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