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Recap | MIN - 3(7), PHI - 3(6)


The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 commenced on a cloudy Minnesota night. The looming thunderstorms barely missed their mark, and no dreaded rain delays were put into effect – thankfully. What was put into effect, though, was a game that went almost as late as a weather delay would have put it, with both sides seemingly intent on stretching it as long as possible before the Loons walked away with a shoot win to advance in the single-elimination round.

The game kicked off with a bit of poking and prodding by the Union, but by the 5th minute, it contained more back-and-forth. There was a string of avoidable giveaways that hindered some growing plays in the attacking third, however, similar issues were found on both sides.

The first decent chance of the night came in the 6th minute when Sang Bin Jeong laid the ball off to Hassani Dotson who hit a solid strike from the edge of the box – curving wide. Sang Bin once again put the pressure on in the 7th minute when he blocked a pass by the Union goalkeeper, but the ball rebounded out for a goal kick before anything could come of it.

The momentum teetered once again towards Philly around the 18th minute, but through determination and the use of the D.E.N.N.I.S. System – Deny, Every, Notable, Net, Incident, Successfully – the Black and Blue regained control once more.

The overall energy picked up near the end of the half when more offensive creativity began to shine through. In the 35th minute, Philadelphia put a laser on target that Clint Irwin had to punch over the bar. The ensuing corner kick led to another header chance that went just wide. In the 40th minute, a blocked Minnesota shot ricocheted to Joseph Rosales who fired a rocket towards the bottom left corner but it curved just off frame.

Some end-to-end soccer was present for the rest of the half but no more major chances were created and the teams went into halftime with a score of 0-0.

The second half had megawatt energy in comparison to the first. Both teams came out with more urgency, and it continued to ramp up through the remainder of the match. In the first ten minutes, the Loons found many pockets of space, but no real chances revealed themselves. On the other side, the Union held the ball less but created a handful of shots – though all were easily handled by Irwin. In the 61st minute, Minnesota parried Philly’s chances with some dangerous ball movement, but the only shot that resulted was a well-outside-the-box look from Michael Boxall.

Things began to really pick up in the 63rd minute when Philadelphia was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Irwin had to make a diving save, and that near-goal lit a bit of a fire in the hearts of the Minnesota squad.

In the 68th minute, the Loons broke through the scoring wall when a cross from DJ Taylor found Bongokuhle Hlongwane, who headed the ball past the Philadelphia keeper. Minnesota increased their lead to two in the 74th minute when Bongi dribbled past multiple defenders and dropped the ball back to Rosales, who fired a shot into the corner of the net.

Philadelphia would not go quietly, though, answering with a goal of their own just four minutes later, before equalizing with a volley in the 93rd minute – making the score 2-2 and sending the teams to overtime.

Overtime consisted of some solid end-to-end play from both teams, but Minnesota had an extra edge over the squad to the east. In the 103rd minute, Bongi notched a brace with a quick tap-in from an across-goal pass by Rosales. The crowd erupted and not a person in the stadium doubted that would be the deciding goal.

In the second half of extra time, MNUFC was holding the ball very well on Philadelphia’s side of the field and attempting to cling to their hard-fought lead. The Loons were applying so much pressure, the Union employed technical fouls to keep them from breakaways – yellow cards were awarded.

In the 130th minute of play, however, Philadelphia equalized once more from a free kick just outside the box – a feat that once again knocked the wind out of the onlooker's lungs. It was unbelievable, especially since they managed to snatch the win away with mere seconds left multiple times in one game. The whistle blew, and the teams were sent to penalties with a final score of 3-3.

After five penalties, the shootout was tied at 4-4, and it became exceptionally clear that this game was always destined to raise the collective blood pressure of everyone in the stadium. Sudden death followed, and after three more rounds, Irwin made the stop that sent Minnesota to the Round of 16 and gave Loons fans the first Wonderwall sing-along of the year.

Next up, MNUFC is set to travel to Kansas to face Sporting Kansas City in regular league play this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Be sure to tune in on Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass to watch the guys as they look to climb the Western Conference standings.


Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC 

Children’s Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas

5.13.2023 | MLS Week No. 12 | MLS Game 11 

7:30 pm CT (Exclusively on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)