FC Tampa Bay at NSC Minnesota Stars
Tuesday, September 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET
NSC Stadium, Blaine, Minnesota
The match can be seen live online at www.fctampabay.com
FC Tampa Bay: 9-7-8, 34 points, 3rd place
NSC Minnesota: 7-8-9, 29 points, 6th place
2011 Series (W-T-L):
FC Tampa Bay leads 1-1-0
What’s at Stake:
FC Tampa Bay plays its third match in a season-long four-game road trip when it meets the Stars for the third time this season. In the first matchup on May 28 in Blaine, the teams played to a scoreless draw. In the most recent game in the series, FC Tampa Bay used goals by midfielder Pascal Millien and defender Frankie Sanfilippo to post a 2-0 victory on August 13 at Al Lang Stadium. Goalkeeper Jeff Attinella has a team-high four shutouts in 2011, with two of them coming against the Stars.
The two teams will face each other twice in the final four games of the regular season, with NSC Minnesota coming to St. Petersburg on Saturday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m.
FC Tampa Bay remains in third place in the standings and can clinch a playoff spot with a victory over the Stars. NSC Minnesota stands in sixth place with 29 points, just five points behind third-place FC Tampa Bay while holding a four-point edge over Montreal (25 points) for the sixth and final playoff berth.
FC Tampa Bay has split the first two matches on its current road trip, both with identical 2-0 scores. FCTB opened the trip with a 2-0 victory at Ft. Lauderdale on August 27 before dropping a 2-0 decision to league-leading Carolina last Saturday in Cary. The loss against the RailHawks marked the first time FCTB has been shutout since May 31 in a 4-0 defeat at FC Edmonton.
NSC Minnesota is coming off a 3-1 loss at FC Edmonton on Saturday night at Foote Field. The Stars have now lost three straight matches and are winless in their last six games. NSC Minnesota has scored just two goals during its winless stretch and its 24 goals overall are the second-fewest in the league this season.
FC Tampa Bay will welcome back leading goal scorer Mike Ambersley, who missed the Carolina match because of yellow card accumulation. Ambersley, the NASL Player of the Month for August, leads FC Tampa Bay with 11 goals and 27 points. He is tied for the club lead with five assists. Over its last 12 matches, FCTB has averaged two goals per game (24 total) after scoring just one goal per game in its first 12 games of the season.
Forward Simone Bracalello leads NSC Minnesota with six goals, while forward Devin Del Do has notched five goals followed by midfielder Neil Hlavaty, with four this season. Midfielder Andrei Gotsmanov is first on the team with two assists.
The Stars have allowed only 28 goals, third-best among NASL teams in 2011. Goalkeeper Joe Warren ranks fourth in the NASL with a 1.13 goals against average (min. 1,000 minutes).
Defender Andres Arango will miss the game after receiving a red card and being sent off in the 50th minute Saturday night at Carolina.
FC Tampa Bay plays its final regular season road match this Saturday, September 10 at Puerto Rico at 7:30 p.m. ET at Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium.