NSC Minnesota captured a 1-0 victory over FC Tampa Bay in the NASL Quarterfinals Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium. With the victory, the Stars advance to face the top-seeded Carolina RailHawks in the semifinals beginning next weekend.
"We are disappointed tonight," said head coach Ricky Hill. "Congratulations to Minnesota first and foremost; they capitalized and held on, kept a clean sheet and get to move forward."
Following a yellow card to FC Tampa Bay defender Andres Arango in the 14th minute, NSC Minnesota was awarded a free kick just outside the box. FCTB goalkeeper Jeff Attinella made a diving save to his right to force a corner kick and keep the match scoreless.
The Stars struck first when midfielder Luke Mulholland scored in the 27th minute for a 1-0 lead. After a foul was called on an FC Tampa Bay defender, Mulholland took the free kick, which was deflected past Attinella.
After taking just three shots in the first 45 minutes, FC Tampa Bay put pressure on the Stars in the second half and outshot Minnesota 8-4, including six on goal.
"I was proud of our team in the second half, particularly their intensity," said Hill. "It was just that in that final moment of execution we came up short this evening."
"We missed our opportunities and one mistake on the deflection led to their goal," said FC Tampa Bay captain and defender Frankie Sanfilippo. "Everybody gave 110 percent out there and was fighting for every ball. We were just unfortunate to not put the ball into the goal."
The loss ended the 2011 season for FC Tampa Bay, a year in which the team reached the playoffs for the first time and finished third in the final regular season standings.
"They should be proud of their efforts throughout the season," said Hill. "The whole squad worked very hard to get to this stage."
FC Tampa Bay Lineup: GK Jeff Attinella, D Frankie Sanfilippo (Captain), D Andres Arango, D JP Rodrigues (Tsuyoshi Yoshitake 67'), D Takuya Yamada, M Shane Hill (Matt Clare 66'), M Pascal Millien, M Mozzi Gyorio, M Keith Savage, F Mike Ambersley, F Aaron King (Kerry Baptiste 74')
NSC Minnesota Stars Lineup: GK Joe Warren, D Justin Davis, D Cristiano Dias, D Kyle Altman (Captain), D Brian Kallman, M Andrei Gotsmanov (Neil Hlavaty 59'), M Kentaro Takada, M Jeff Cosgriff, M Luke Mulholland (Devin Del Do 71'), M Lucas Rodriguez, F Brian Cvilikas
MIN: Luke Mulholland - 27th minute
FCTB: Andres Arango - 14th minute
MIN: Jeff Cosgriff - 55th minute
MIN: Kyle Altman - 57th minute
FCTB: 11 shots (6 on goal), 6 saves, 10 fouls, 0 offsides, 6 corners
MIN: 10 shots (7 on goal), 6 saves, 18 fouls, 2 offsides, 1 corner