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Strikers defeat Minnesota United, Cosmos could still host Soccer Bowl

Andy Marlin

The first NASL Semifinal between the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and Minnesota United is over,

Miguel Ibarra opened the scoring in somewhat controversial fashion, with a beautiful chip to beat the keeper. The goal itself was absolutely gorgeous, but Fort Lauderdale had an injured player lying on the pitch when the Loons started the counter attack. The Strikers' coaching staff felt that play should have been blown dead before the ball even entered their half of the field, but alas, it was 1-0 Loons.

For much of the remainder of the game, it looked like United would make that 1-0 lead hold up, and advance to host the Soccer Bowl. Martin Nunez leveled the match in stoppage time though, and after the 90 minutes was played, the game was still level at 1-1.

Stoppage time got underway with an injury to Jamie Watson who had to leave the pitch as a result. Minnesota had already used all three substitutions though, so the injury left United playing a man down for the remainder. The Strikers created several chances including a one-on one with the keeper just before the first half of extra time expired, but the 30 minutes saw no change to the score, and the game went to penalties.

The Strikers prevailed in the sixth round of the penalty shootout, meaning the winner of the San Antonio/New York match will host next weekend's Soccer Bowl. Congratulations Fort Lauderdale, and hopefully we'll see you in New York next weekend!