Minnesota United FC and the Carolina RailHawks played to a scoreless halftime draw at the National Sports Center stadium in Blaine, Minn.
“I’m really disappointed we didn’t finish a couple of chances,” said United FC coach Manny Lagos. “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.”
United went with four new faces in the starting lineup, defenders Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis started as outside backs and each has helped provide an offensive spark from the wings. Kentaro Takada and Lucas Rodriguez also started in the midfield 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.
In 13th minute Minnesota created a chance off of solid buildup play from the midfield. Miguel Ibarra found some open space on the left wing and fed a ball into Brazilian Pablo Campos who then threaded in 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.
Each team will look to build upon their first half chances and put the ball in the net as they look to earn three points. Carolina for the first time on the road this season and Minnesota for just the second time at NSC stadium in 2013.
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