Goals from midfielder Calum Mallace and forward Simone Bracalello gave Minnesota United FC a 2-1 victory over the host FC Edmonton in front of 3,143 spectators at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta – Canada on Sunday.
Eddies midfielder Massimo Mirabelli had an opportunity when he brought the ball into the middle and unleashed a shot but the winger missed the far post.
Minnesota had a chance off a corner when the ball seemed to bounce around the box for a few seconds but goalkeeper Lance Parker was able to smother it before any damage was done.
The Italian striker Bracalello put a cross into the box minutes later but once again, there was no United player in the box to receive it and the ball rolled harmlessly through the 18.
One of the league’s most dangerous strikers, Pablo Campos, started for United and the big man had several chances in the first half but Eddies defender David Proctor covered him masterfully and was able to hold him off the score sheet.
Forward Mike Ambersley found the ball on his foot in the 18-yard box after a three-on-two developed for Minnesota but Parker got low and stopped the midfielder’s strike.
Mirabelli had a second strike in the 36th minute but this one sailed over the crossbar.
In the 37th minute United took the lead when the Scottish native Mallace brought the ball down off a Proctor clearance and hit a volley from 25 yards out that found the bottom corner of the net.
“I thought it was a good first half for us,” said United coach, Manny Lago at halftime. “I think we came out with some good winning balls, good crosses and created chances.”
In the second half, Minnesota picked up where they left off in the first half with pressure resulting in corners but despite several attempts, they were unable to capitalize in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
In the 63rd minute Minnesota doubled their lead when the Bracalello’s shot slipped right through Parker and into the net.
Edmonton defender Antonio Rago had a chance to cut the lead in half in the 67th minute when a rebound found its way out to the fullback but his shot ended up in the arms of Minnesota goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel.
Northern Ireland forward Daryl Fordyce made it interesting in injury time when he tucked home a Rago cross to cut the lead in half but that was all the offence either team could muster as FC Edmonton continues to struggle in the final third, Minnesota goes home with a 2-1 victory and the all-too-important three points.
“On the day, they were a better side than us,” said FC Edmonton coach, Colin Miller after the game. “They had a little more quality and the second goal took the heart right out of us.”
The result put United into the three-way tie for third place, along with Carolina RailHawks and Fort Lauderdale Strikers, in the NASL Fall Standings with 11 points each. Meanwhile, FC Edmonton remains with eight points after losing at home for the first time in eight matches.
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