Fourth of July weekend. Sun-soaked. Sell out crowd. Saturday night at Allianz Field had all the makings of a spectacular summer night that was only missing one thing:

The fireworks, of course.

In this case, there were fireworks of the offensive variety. And, Emanuel Reynoso was the M-80, as he sparked an offensive performance that fired up the Loon faithful to a fever pitch. In fact, the Minnesota United offensive attack as a whole was worthy of the loud response, as they out-ran and out-muscled Real Salt Lake from the start.

Reynoso lit the fuse on this offensive explosion right away in the eighth minute when a quick juke from the right side of the box got him clear of his man and with enough of a window to hammer home a beauty.

There was no let up for the rest of the first half, as the Loons attack put the Real Salt Lake defensive unit on its heels much of the time with MNUFC peppering RSL goalkeeper Zac MacMath regularly, but to no avail. That is, until the stoppage time of the first half, when Emanuel Reynoso was tackled in the box, which resulted in a penalty kick. The initial block of the PK by MacMath wasn’t enough to stop Reynoso from putting the rebound in the net.

The attack came out of the half equally as potent, continuing to pressure the Real Salt Lake defense. Then, in the 61st minute of the second half, Luis Amarilla got loose on a breakaway off a beautiful assist from, who else, Reynoso, as Amarilla perfectly placed a chip shot over MacMath to make it 3-0, Loons.

With the way the attack was going and the defense of the Minnesota United holding steady, this one didn’t have the feel of their last win versus LA Galaxy, which saw a furious comeback in the closing minutes that almost brought the teams even. No stressful endings here.

Until there was.

The listless Real Salt Lake attack suddenly woke up, much to the chagrin of anyone sporting black and blue. Jefferson Savarino got the nightmare scenario started with a goal in the 71st minute. Not long after that, in the 76th minute, it was Anderson Julio’s header that threw a little more nightmare fuel on the fire.

The Real Salt Lake attack showed no signs of letting up, while the Loons showed signs of being worn down from the aggressive offensive effort. RSL had the fresh legs to keep up their suddenly energetic attack and continued to have scoring opportunities, but Michael Boxell, DJ Taylor and Abu Danladi each made key defensive clearances that kept the wolves at bay for just long enough to escape with an exciting yet heartburn-inducing 3-2 victory.

While Loons fans could have done without the nervous moments in the second half, they have to feel good about the boys putting together two games in a row featuring energetic attack efforts. Equally important was converting those scoring opportunities that got away from them in the games leading up the international break. Next, the Loons have a date with Vancouver Whitecaps up north of the border, where we hope to see even more goals on the attack and even fewer heart palpitations.


Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Minnesota United FC

BC Place | Vancouver, BC

07.08.22 | MLS regular season game no. 19

9:30 p.m. CT (MLS Live on ESPN+, Bally Sports North EXTRA, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)