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Loons Earn Late Point in Tani Time


Need a late goal? Tani’s got you covered. Minnesota United earned a late draw against Real Salt Lake tonight, and though the late point left the stadium with an air of excitement, the home side will feel they could have gotten more.

It was a relatively slow start for the Loons, as they struggled to really build anything threatening in the opening stages of the game. Despite their lack of attacking ideas, the defensive structure was solid for the first 20 minutes. RSL kept moving the ball wide to get crosses in, but Devin Padelford and Michael Boxall had the middle covered between the two of them.

That is, until the 24th minute, when Chicho Arango got free at the back post to finish off Andres Gomez’s service. Gomez managed to beat Joseph Rosales at the edge of the 18 with some fancy footwork, delaying the cross and causing confusion in the middle.

After falling behind, the Loons responded with energy, but their lack of cohesion and sharpness continued to plague them. It took some inspired passing from Robin Lod to finally break MNUFC out of their funk, as the Finn began connecting his teammates and moving the ball into dangerous positions. His efforts helped to get Sang Bin Jeong involved, allowing the winger to send in several threatening crosses before the whistle blew.

Though they were likely disappointed not to have leveled before the break, the Loons ended the half in the ascendency. Lod’s creativity and quality was the key to breaking RSL’s pressure, giving the home side hope and a bit more pep in their step.

As soon as the second half kicked off, it was clear that Minnesota United would continue to put the pressure on. Robin continued to cause havoc, creating chances and spreading the visitors out. Michael Boxall nearly converted a corner kick early in the half, but no matter what they did, the Loons continued to be met with frustration.

While RSL didn’t create much of consequence in the second half, Andres Gomez continued to be a nuisance on MNUFC’s left side, cutting in onto his left foot to set up shots and leave defenders on their heels. Luckily, he was the only player that posed much of a threat in the second 45, and the Loons back line was up to the task.

The substitution of Caden Clark for Bongokuhle Hlongwane in the 63rd minute turned out to provide a needed spark, as the Minnesota native played a DIME to Sang Bin just minutes later. The Korean winger was in on goal, but a controversial no-call saw him fall to the ground. The referee’s decision to refrain from making a call galvanized an already energized Loons side, though, leading to more chances and more close calls.

The squad’s frustration was evident in the 80th minute, after having dominated for so much of the game and having nothing to show for it. Eric Ramsay turned to his bench once more, bringing Franco Fragapane and Tani Oluwaseyi onto the pitch for one last shot at finding the leveler.

And, naturally, when you put Tani on during Tani Time, there’s only one result. Goals.

In the 87th minute, Robin Lod once again turned into the Finnish Messi, slicing and dicing his way past several defenders in the box and megging the last one with a left-footed shot. It looked as though Zac MacMath would collect it easily, but Tani’s poacher instincts kicked in just in time, as the substitute got a foot in front of the shot to redirect it before the keeper could collect it. The ball bounced against the post and went in, leveling the score and furthering the legend of Tani Oluwaseyi.

Solid performances across the pitch gave the Loons the chance to steal a result at the end, though they’ll feel hard done to have missed out on the full three points. Devin Padelford remained calm and composed in his second game at center back, and Wil Trapp looked like a spring chicken in his 300th MLS game. Unfortunately, some late antics from Joseph Rosales earned him a second yellow, meaning he’ll have to miss the next match.

The Loons were the better team on the night—as evidenced by nearly every statistical metric—but switching off for one moment and losing your man, especially one as dangerous in front of goal as Chicho Arango, is a mistake that most teams in this league will punish you for. Ramsay and the boys will be back in action at Allianz Field next weekend to take on the Houston Dynamo in another Western Conference showdown.


Minnesota United FC vs Houston Dynamo

Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota

04.13.24 | MLS Game 7

7:30 p.m. CT (Watch on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)