With the international break looming, Minnesota United came into Saturday night’s game looking to end May on a high note. A win against the reigning MLS Cup champions would qualify as some beautiful noise to make before the break. That’s not to say that setting the tone was going to be easy by any means.

The first half saw the squad come out looking agile and mobile on the pitch, showing the kind of passing accuracy that afforded the boys some looks at the opposing goalkeeper, if only a passing glance. New York’s attack was equally active, trading runs with the Loons. That is, until the 29th minute, when NYCFC defender Alexander Callens' header from the center of the box to the top left corner came by way of a Santiago Rodríguez cross off a corner.

The Loons nearly had themselves a first half equalizer in the 35th minute when defender Brent Kallman’s header from the center of the box hit the post. The latter part of the first half would end with aggressive back and forth between the squads, which ended up having the referees seeing yellow, especially for your boys in black and blue, with Wil Trapp, DJ Taylor and Joseph Rosales all getting a card for their troubles.

While his speed was definitely on display throughout the first half, Bongokuhle Hlongwane’s ball control wasn’t as sharp as it normally is, and also missed the mark on a couple of passes. Loons fans know how talented a young player Bongi is, but there’s no doubt he needs to step up his play. 

After the half, Coach Adrian Heath decided to make a like-for-like attacking sub, bringing in Luis Amarilla for Bongi at the start of the second half. Again, Minnesota’s attack once again came out of the gates hot, making a series of runs with Amarilla, Reynoso and Lod in tow.

Unfortunately, Amarilla, at times just simply tried to do too much, holding the ball for a touch too long when facing an opportunity to put a shot on goal. Franco Fragapane had a quality look in the 67th minute that ultimately went wide left of the goal. In the 69th minute, Franco’s night was over, as Heath sent in Adrien Hunou in to see if he could be the difference-maker for a Loons attack that had been starving for some scoring.

Unfortunately, as has been the case over the last few games, MNUFC just couldn’t get one to go, with Reynoso, Lod and Amarilla each getting a shot on goal at the end of regulation, but none were to be, giving NYCFC the win.

While nobody would accuse the Loons of playing anything but hard in this game, they just couldn’t hit that high note going into the international break. Here’s hoping that post-break, the squad comes back to the pitch with answers to their scoring woes as they look toward the rest of the MLS regular season where that scoring will be crucial to the Loons success.


Minnesota United FC vs. SC Paderborn 07

Allianz Field | Saint Paul, MN

06.11.22 | International Friendly

7:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North, The CW-Twin Cities)