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Arriaga’s Strike Earns Win Against St Pat’s


International friendlies are always fun, aren’t they? Wednesday’s meeting with St Patrick’s Athletic was no exception to that rule, seeing the Loons come out 1-0 victors in a match that, while not as intense as our typical MLS games, was entertaining in its own way.

Some extra Irish elements were thrown into the usual game-day routine, including some live music and dancing from the Hudson Irish Dance Academy. The players walked out to the sound of bagpipes all around them, courtesy of the Brian Boru Irish Pipe and Drums. All in all, it was pretty Irish at Allianz Field. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks!

Though much of the game was uneventful, a brilliant passage of play in the 57th minute saw Kervin Arriaga score the lone goal of the match with a strike from the top of the box. While the finish was fantastic, it was the build-up play that really stood out.

After winning the ball back in the Saints’ half, Moses Nyeman found the feet of Bongokuhle Hlongwane. Bongi ‘megged the first defender that tried to stop him and found Tani Oluwaseyi for the outlet pass before receiving the ball once more in the box. After seeing that a shot was out of the question, his clever back heel left Arriaga with a great look at goal, and the rest is history.

Some early flashes from Nyeman in the midfield were encouraging for Loons fans, as the youngster displayed both quality and an understanding of the game that were well beyond his years. The first MNUFC minutes for both Victor Eriksson and Carlos Harvey were solid, with the center back - Eriksson - going the full 90 and the midfielder - Harvey - subbing in to replace Arriaga after his goal.

Both sides left the excitement for the second half of this one, and though the Saints created a few chances, they simply weren’t sharp enough to finish any of them off. The Loons grew into the match much better than the visitors, but a home crowd tends to help with such things. Patrick Weah’s late cameo saw the young striker display some impressive workrate as well as admirable commitment to his defensive duties.

And, after all, we got to hear Wonderwall. That’s a good night, if I may say so myself. Thanks for coming out, St Pat’s; it was fun!


Philadelphia Union v Minnesota United

Subaru Park | Chester, Pennsylvania

03.30.24 | MLS Game 4

1:00 p.m. CT (Watch on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)