[NASL: Playoffs]Like they did last year when they won the inaugural NASL title, the Minnesota Stars opened the 2012 NASL playoffs as the No. 6 seeds and won on the road with a 2-1 win at the Puerto Rico Islanders. Ty Shipalane scored twice to lead the RailHawks to a 3-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the other quarterfinal.
Goals by Amani Walker and Miguel Ibarra on counterattacks earned the Stars their first win ever in Puerto Rico and advance to the semifinals, where they will host the regular-season champion San Antonio Scorpions in Saturday's first leg.
David Foley has the lone goal for the Islanders, who were coming off a Concacaf Champions League match Thursday night.
Amir Lowery, one of six Carolina starters who have played in MLS, added the third goal for the RailHawks, last year's regular-season champions who were upset in the semifinals by Minnesota.
“Today we played a very good game,” said RailHawks coach Colin Clarke. “The team definitely played playoff soccer tonight and we got the result we needed.”
Carolina hosts the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the first leg of their semifinal series on Saturday.
Sept. 29 in Cary, N.C.
Carolina 3 Ft. Lauderdale 1.Goals: Lowery (Garey) 34, Shipalane (Zimmerman) 52, Shipalane (Shriver) 67; Thompson (Laing) 61.
Carolina --Burse, Low, Kalungi, Stockley, Graye, Franks, Lowery, Zimmerman (da Luz, 75), Garey (Luzunaris, 90), Shipalane (Elenio, 84), Shriver.
Ft. Lauderdale --Glaeser, Stahl, Blake (Hassan, 79), Laing, Gordon, Pecka, Shanosky (King 71), Tetteh, Ramos, Herron (Thompson, 19), Anderson.
Sept. 30 in Bayamon, P.R.
Puerto Rico 1 Minnesota 2.Goals: Foley (Hansen) 79; Walker (Bracalello) 9, Ibarra (Bracalello) 41.
Puerto Rico --Martin, Martinez, Edward (Ramos, 72), Vazquez, Needham, Delgado, Foley, Van Schaik (Hansen, 53), Nurse, Fana (Marrero, 58), Addlery.
Minnesota -- VanOekel, Davis, Kallman, Altman, Tobin, Hlavaty, Watson, Ibarra, Rodriguez (Takada, 72), Bracalello, Walker (Polak, 88).