In a matchup featuring an opponent that is essentially the adult version of the team in Kicking and Screaming — as in, run by Will Ferrell and relying heavily on a few superstars — the Loons welcomed the first-place LAFC to Allianz Field for a crucial showdown on Tuesday night.
MNUFC kicked off the game at a great pace, connecting well and looking dangerous in the attacking third. All of the good things they put together in the previous game against Portland were looking even tighter, especially with playmaker Emanuel Reynoso back in the mix.
The first half consisted of a number of combinations for both sides, but the legitimate looks on goal were few and far between. MNUFC had two very close calls, but for the majority of the half, the net barely slipped away.
In the 21st minute, an excellent counterattack off of an LAFC corner kick saw the ball ping to Luis Amarilla, whose cannon of a leg fired a shot that bounced off of the right post. In the 39th minute, Rey received the ball on the right of the 6, but the shot went just wide.
LAFC had a few decent chances of their own, but the MNUFC defense handled them well. However, the missed opportunities on both sides left a lot of tension within either team, which led to some chippy play.
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Finally, in the 45th minute, Brent Kallman scored a beautiful header goal off of a Reynoso corner kick. That goal was like a cup of water in August heat; with it, the scoring drought was over. The stadium erupted in applause and the cheering lasted for minutes.
The half came to a close shortly after that, with the score set at a clean 1-0 Minnesota.
The second half began with as much energy as the first with both sides attempting to poke holes in the opposing sides defense. Similar to the first half, there were decent chances scattered throughout.
The black and gold finally broke through in the 64th minute, courtesy of a beautiful Carlos Vela shot from just outside of the 18 and into the top left corner.
The Loons were aggressive in their attempts to get their lead back after that. Ménder García and Luis Amarilla were using their speed up top to get after through balls, and the midfield was relentlessly winning tackles in the attacking third.
MNUFC were all over the team from the vocal fry state with offensive breaks that were barely stopped by the last man, and set piece after set piece. In the 76th minute, an excellent look by Amarilla led to a blocked shot and fourth set piece in even fewer minutes for the Loons.
While the net continued to elude them, the team was on fire in the final push, winning many of the battles and finding the most outlets. Five minutes of injury time were added to the end of the game, and Minnesota looked as if nothing would stop them from the win.
In the 94th minute, a ball went just out of reach of the L.A. keeper and Rey appeared poised to finish it. However, he was stopped before he could get a shot off. In the 95th minute, Jonathan González headed the ball from the 18, and it went just wide left.
The whistle blew, and the score remained 1-1. Tying the top team in the conference is nothing to scoff at and the boys in black and blue looked tight tonight. Now MNUFC looks towards Kansas City for their matchup this Saturday. The Loons likely need just a few more points to clinch a playoff spot, and this draw was a step in the right direction.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Minnesota United FC
Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas
09.17.22 | MLS Game 32
7:30 pm CT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+, Bally Sports North EXTRA, The CW - Twin Cities,1500 ESPN