After Minnesota United’s first scoreless outing last weekend against Austin, the Loons were in need of goals. With just five goals through their opening six matches, and a streak of no goals from open play dating all the way back to March 19 against San Jose, the attack was a major point of focus heading into their showdown with Colorado.
The Loons subsequently delivered, turning on the jets in the second half to defeat the Colorado Rapids by a final score of 3-1. Goals were scored by Bakaye Dibassy, Robin Lod and Abu Danladi, who re-opened his Minnesota account with his first goal of the season. Colorado’s goal came from Diego Rubio.
Minnesota’s first real attack of the game almost bore fruit, but referee Chris Penso judged that Lod had not been fouled in the box after a video review, the first of three of the first half. Colorado made their own threats through Jonathan Lewis, but Dayne St. Clair was up to the task, saving comfortably in the 17th minute.
Colorado began to accumulate yellow cards as the half moved forward. Within five minutes of each other, William Yarborough, Lucas Esteves and Diego Rubio were all carded for various offenses, and things then appeared to get even worse for the Rapids. Jack Price was whistled for a foul on Luis Amarilla in the 35th minute, and Penso showed Price a straight red card, ostensibly reducing Colorado to ten men. However, Penso went to VAR and subsequently rescinded the red card, reducing it to yellow.
Minnesota had their best chance just afterwards, with Kervin Arriaga free for a header just a few yards from goal, but his shot was directly at Yarborough. Set pieces would prove key for Minnesota, though, as their opening goal came from that avenue.
In the 42nd minute, Emanuel Reynoso attempted a corner kick, which was cleared but reset back to the Loons number 10. His second cross found Dibassy, whose header glanced off of Yarborough, bouncing into the goal’s left side. That goal would give Minnesota a 1-0 lead…but not for long.
Just three minutes later, Colorado put the ball in the net, but were initially whistled for offside. However, Penso once again went to VAR and ruled that Dibassy had touched a cross meant for Diego Rubio before Rubio himself touched it and nudged it into the goal, invalidating the offside and granting Colorado their goal. A miscommunication between Dibassy and St. Clair proved unfortunate for the hosts and left the score level at halftime.
Colorado started the second half on the front foot, and St. Clair was called into dramatic action. St. Clair made a series of increasingly difficult saves, denying two different one-on-one opportunities, and nudging a Rubio shot onto the base of his goalpost. St. Clair said postgame that he got a single finger on the shot, and Adrian Heath called the save the best of the evening. St. Clair would finish the game with seven saves, just one off his season-best of eight against New York Red Bulls.
Heath brought in Bongi Hlongwane and Abu Danladi to relieve Luis Amarilla and Franco Fragapane in the 70th minute, and the substitutions almost immediately brought dividends for Minnesota, as seven minutes later they took the lead once again. Robin Lod had moved centrally after the subs and was positioned perfectly to hit Hassani Dotson’s cross first-time into the back of the net. Dotson and Reynoso collaborated on the right to create the window for Dotson’s low cross.
Two minutes later, it was 3-1 and the Loons were off to the races. It was Danladi’s turn to be the hero this time, with Lod playing the role of provider. Reynoso crossed from the left, Lod took two touches and drew the defenders before passing to Danladi, whose shot was at just the right angle to find the bottom corner past Yarborough. The goal is Danladi’s first goal for Minnesota in 973 days—a stretch dating back to a goal against Orlando City in August 2019.
St. Clair was named Man of the Match with his seven saves, and Lod departed late in the game to a standing ovation after a goal and an assist to win Minnesota the game. After no wins in three attempts against Colorado in 2021, the victory and goals were well-timed.
The Loons will look to keep their momentum rolling as they continue a busy stretch that will see them play a total of three games over eight days, quickly moving on from tonight's match to travel to Forward Madison FC for the Third Round of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, followed by another home MLS contest against the Chicago Fire next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. CT.
Minnesota United FC vs. Forward Madison FC
Breese Stevens Field | Madison, WI
04.20.22 | U.S. Open Cup Third Round
6:00 p.m. CT (ESPN+)