Minnesota United faced Austin FC in an action-packed match that had viewers on the edge of their seats until the very last whistle. While MNUFC lost the match 2-1, the Loons showed some inspired moments throughout that would make anyone pleased with their overall performance. This game was like a shot of espresso — it took a little bit to kick in, but when it did, it was electrifying to the senses.
The game’s first portion was a bit of a failure to launch as – apart from a Joseph Rosales goal in the 5th minute that was later called offside, not much of consequence occurred in the early minutes. There were some threatening moments by both sides, one of which featured a heroic diving save by Dayne St. Clair, but overall the game didn’t find its legs until about the midway point of the first 45.
In the 19th minute, Austin scored a great half-volley to put the home side up 1-0. Shortly after, Minnesota found their urgency, and continued to pelt the Texas team with effort after effort.
In the 26th minute, the Loons found their equalizer with a great showing of teamwork. Ménder García received a through ball and opted for the extra pass to give Rosales an open shot on goal. Ted Lasso would be proud.
MNUFC almost doubled their lead a minute later when a cross into the box was knocked just wide by Bongokuhle Hlongwane. With the Loons shifting to the front foot, their scoring opportunities launched to an almost Interstellar level. The rest of the half saw many close calls by the Black and Blue that by some Austin magic barely missed their mark.
It was a nice battle in the first half, and the teams went into the locker rooms with the score set at 1-1.
Since it’s half time, now is the perfect moment to mention that McConaughey has famously said that life is a series of commas, not periods, so in honor of that, this writer will make the most absurdly long run-on sentence with the use of commas only, and while this may seem counterproductive to this overall job description, it’s always good to stop and appreciate the pauses of life, or the commas as one might say, now back to the game.
Minnesota picked up where they left off and began the second half on the front foot once again, maintaining possession and testing the Austin back line. Similar to the first half, not much occurred in the early minutes.
In the 58th minute, however, Austin had an achingly-close opportunity that rolled across the goal line and just evaded being knocked in. In the following minute, the Texas team had another good chance on goal that forced St. Clair to once again make a great save.
Minnesota answered with a wonderful look of their own ten minutes later when Dotson produced a crazy strike on a free kick that hit the post — another close call that only added to the tally of barely missed chances for the Black and Blue. There were many opportunities produced by both sides, but Minnesota had so many near-goals that it may take a few days for Loons fans to unclench their jaws.
In the 82nd minute, Austin notched a goal from a long throw that bounced around in the box until Sebastián Driussi, the newly-returned star for the Green and Black, threaded it in.
Minnesota United equalized – well, nearly – in the 87th minute with a cannon from DJ Taylor that was deflected off of a Texas player into the goal. Hassani Dotson, however, was called offside and since he affected the play with a final push into the goal, the point was revoked. Once again, it was nearly there.
For the rest of the match, MNUFC fought hard for their second goal, earning four corner kicks in a row at one point from some frustratingly close chances that were barely batted away. Let’s run this back, shall we? Two goals that were later called offside, a shot off the post, a shot off the crossbar, and then whatever voodoo was produced to keep Minnesota from scoring in the last few minutes. It’s safe to say that it may take a bit to wind down from this one for many of the Loons faithful.
With a final score of 2-1 and 2.7 expected goals from Minnesota, it is definitely difficult to swallow that the Loons got nothing out of the match – they certainly deserved to. Though the result may leave some of us dazed and confused tonight, it was a fantastic game of soccer and fun to watch. Next up, MNUFC will be at home this Saturday to face Toronto FC. If that match is half as exciting as this one, Allianz Field is in for a treat.
Minnesota United FC vs Toronto FC
Allianz Field | St. Paul, Minnesota
06.03.22 | MLS Game 16