The Loons knew they would be in for a battle with the New England Revolution visiting Allianz Field on Saturday night, and it turned out to be exactly that. Right to the very end. And that’s not hyperbole, as the Loons would bring the match level on the very last play of the match. From the kickoff, the boys looked spry on the attack, with Emanuel Reynoso operating like a point guard on the pitch. He and the Loons were aggressive in the attacking third, as they peppered Revs goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. throughout the first half. Reynoso created quality opportunities for the likes of Bongi, Dotson, and García, but everything wound up just shy of finding the net. Missed attempts came with a whole lot of corner kicks, with the Loons ending the night with a total of 15 by the evening’s end.
Then, in the 38th minute, New England gave the Loons a rude awakening, courtesy of the Gil brothers. It was Nacho with the crossed assist to Carles, who booted it home and brought the boys back down to earth a bit. 1-0, Revs. The Loons stayed aggressive for the remainder of the first half, but were unable to bring it level before the whistle. The second half saw more of the same from the Loons, as they continued to put the pressure on New England’s backline. So much so that the Loons ended up possessing the ball for 60% of the match. In the 61st minute, Trapp and Garcia subbed out, replaced by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Franco Fragapane. Remember those subs.
As it was in the first half, MNUFC had a maddening amount of oh-so-close attempts on goal, with Bongi, Dotson, and Tajouri-Shradi pelting Edwards Jr. for the rest of the match. All close, but no cigar. The clock kept ticking, and the Loons kept kicking, with the Boys in Black and Blue all giving their maximum effort into the waning minutes of the match. But the clock hit 90, and any hopes of at least grabbing a point against New England looked bleak.
Then, the Loons would turn a costly loss into another magical Allianz Field moment. It would come in the final seconds of stoppage, the 15th corner kick attempt of the night for MNUFC. Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair was in the box as Reynoso took the corner, which deflected off a header from a Revs defender. Tajouri-Shradi got the first crack off the rebound. His shot slapped off the face of Revs defender Ben Sweat before finding its way to Jan Gregus, who would tap it to … Dayne. Freaking. St. Clair. The keeper passed left of goal , where Franco Fragapane squared up and saved the day with the equalizer!
The Wonderwall exploded into pure pandemonium, as Fragapane jumped into the sea of Black and Blue to celebrate his miraculous goal. While the Loons would, somehow get even against a tough New England side to get another point in the Western Conference standings. It may have been a draw, but it was one unforgettable ending to a match.
MNUFC vs. Sporting Kansas City
09.16.2023 | MLS Matchday 32
Allianz Field | St. Paul, MN | Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Watch: AppleTV - MLS Season Pass