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Big Loons Energy Comes Alive In Austin 


Ladies and gentlemen, the passive has become the aggressive at Minnesota United Football Club.

This much was clear from the jump on Saturday evening down in Austin, Texas, as Minnesota United gave the home team a glimpse of what the 2024 Loons are capable of. And, if this was a preview of the style of play we should expect to see from the boys this season under the leadership of new Sporting Director, Khaled El-Ahmad, a potential new…cough, cough...first-team coach and interim head coach Cameron Knowles —it’s safe to assume the Legion of Loons is in favor of it.

Knowles was at the helm Saturday night, leading a starting XI that would be without two of its most talented pieces, Emanuel Reynoso and Bongokhule Hlongwane. But, even being without such vital talent on the pitch, the short-handed Loons came out fast and furious on both the attack and with a defensive press that appeared to take the home squad by surprise for much of the first half. Teemu Pukki, Franco Fragapane, and Sang Bin Jeong wasted no time in unloading a barrage of shots on Austin goalkeeper Brad Stuver from the opening minutes of the match. While the Black and Blue had a number of quality opportunities to find the net, it would be Robin Lod making the most of his return to the club in the 34th minute of play, after a crossing shot from Sang Bin would initially be stopped by Stuver, only to be blocked towards Lod, lying in wait in the center of the box to hammer home the score. 1-0, Birds.

While the first-half onslaught from the Loons attack wouldn’t materialize as another goal for the starting XI, this was clearly the kind of start the fans had hoped to see from their club. Even with such an impressive first half from the Black and Blue, the second half would see Austin pick up their pace and try to mount a comeback after being stunned by the MNUFC attack in the early going. The Loons would pump the brakes a bit on their pace in the second half and bow up on the defensive end to try and keep Austin out of the net and hold onto the positive result. Though Alex Ring and others would have some opportunities to try and get the Verde and Black on the scoreboard, unfortunately for them, goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair looked sharp in the net throughout the evening. He’d eventually see one score slip by him, but only after the game had already been salted away after local man Caden Clark went streaking down the sideline to place a beautiful long distance cross at the feet of Tani Oluwaseyi, who would find new Loon Alejandro Bran for a close range closer in the first minute of stoppage time.

In spite of the uncertainties that led up to this 2024 season opener, Minnesota United showed just what could be with their new approach to the game. And, while it may be a small sample size, it shouldn’t be hard for fans to feel optimistic about the months to come.


MNUFC vs. Columbus Crew

03.02.2024 | MLS Matchday 2

Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota | Kickoff: 1:00 p.m.

Watch: AppleTV - MLS Season Pass, 1500 ESPN