Wayne Rooney was in St. Paul to watch the squad he’ll soon be managing. For all intents and purposes, his new players were probably hoping he had a spare kit lying around somewhere, as D.C. United could have used all the help they could get against the MNUFC offensive attack on Saturday night.

After achieving a great deal of success in the earlier days of the league, the D.C. franchise hasn’t factored into many conversations for serious MLS Cup contenders in recent years. And, based on tonight’s performance, that trend won’t be changing any time soon, as the Loons added to an already-tough stretch with a 2-0 victory over the lesser of the Uniteds.

Once again, the Minnesota United attack was up and at ‘em from the word “go.” Then, in the 13th minute, “go” turned into “whoa,” as Luis Amarilla’s midair heel kick landed in front of a always-willing and always-ready Emanuel Reynoso. And, that ended the same way most of his shots have over the last stretch of games. Use this video as a refresher:

The boys’ fine football form continued throughout the duration of the first half of play, with Minnesota United holding possession of the ball for what felt like a majority of the first half. The Loons peppered D.C. keeper Rafael Romo, but they weren’t able to put any additional opportunities past him, taking a 1-0 lead into the half. 

The second half didn’t look much different in terms of the Loons attack keeping D.C. United’s defense on their heels. In the 50th minute, it was downright deja vu, with Luis Amarilla once again connecting with Reynoso near the center of the box, putting a foot on the cross so that it could roll ever so gently into goal.

Newly-minted MLS All-Star Dayne St. Clair continued his stout play in the net, though he likely won’t experience any post-traumatic night terrors thinking about the rather toothless attack of the visitors. To his benefit, the Loons attack didn’t let up and kept the pressure on D.C.’s defense throughout the rest of the match. On another note, it felt like all of the Allianz Field crowd was really pulling for MNUFC wing Bongokuhle Hlongwane to put a score past the keeper, as he came so close on numerous occasions but couldn’t get one to go. After stringing together some hard-fought, well-played minutes over the course of the last few games, Bongi is more than due to get his score soon enough.

To see this Minnesota United squad playing at such a high level coming out of a less-than-desired standing at the halfway point of the season has been beautiful to watch. Beautiful, AND consistent, which is something the Wonderwall and the rest of the Loon faithful have waited patiently to see. Let’s hope those good feelings carry over to next week Wednesday's highly-anticipated international friendly against legendary English Premier club, Everton FC.

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Minnesota United FC vs. Everton FC

Allianz Field | St. Paul, MN

07.20.22 | International Friendly

7:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North, ESPN+)