After receiving word that midfielder Emanuel Reynoso’s red card from last weekend’s game against FC Dallas would be rescinded, Minnesota United held out hope that even with players absent on international duty, they could pull off a home win against the Colorado Rapids. After nabbing an early goal and going up a man 15 minutes into the second half, it looked like the Loons would do just that. But it all came apart for the home side in the final 20 minutes as MNUFC conceded three goals to fall 3-1 to the visitors.
Minnesota United began the game on the front foot and struck early. In the eighth minute, midfielder Emanuel Reynoso shrugged off a defender before threading a pass ahead to midfielder Franco Fragapane in the box. Fragapane found forward Adrien Hunou near the edge of the area and the Frenchman settled the ball with his left before driving a left-footed shot through the legs of a pair of defenders and onto the far post for his fifth goal of the year.
Colorado did not back off their attacking pressure, though, and Minnesota had to keep throwing the attack forward. Through the remainder of the first half, the Loons had other opportunities, including a point blank shot from Midfielder Ethan Finlay in the 22nd minute, but still needed six saves from Tyler Miller — including back-to-back saves in the 43rd minute — to get into the locker room up a goal.
In the 50th minute, MNUFC had a golden opportunity to double their lead as goalkeeper William Yarbrough came way out of his net to challenge Hunou on a long ball, which found its way out wide to Finlay. Faced with an open goal, Finlay tried to get it back to Hunou in the middle of the box and instead gave Yarbrough the chance to recover and knock the ball wide.
Then, in the 57th minute, Reynoso found Hunou with a deft pass, forcing defender Danny Wilson to bring the Argentine down. With no one left between the midfielder and the goalkeeper, Wilson was shown red for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity, giving Minnesota a man advantage. Colorado quickly adjusted by bringing in four substitutes, the most essential of which turned out to be Michael Barrios.
While MNUFC managed to build up a good bit of possession and create opportunities with the advantage, a slip up at the back would cost them dearly. In the 70th minute, midfielder Jonathan Lewis danced along the edge of the box before firing in a shot that Miller blocked but couldn’t hold onto. As he dove for the ball, he collided with Barrios and, after review, the visitors were given a penalty shot. Midfielder Cole Bassett buried it confidently to the left as Miller guessed right.
With the game level and Minnesota in dire need of three points, the onus was on the home side to get a goal back. But in the 84th minute, it was once again Barrios making the Loons pay for pushing forward. Once again, Lewis brought the ball up the right wing as Barrios peeled off defender Brent Kallman’s shoulder and got into space for the easy finish to make it 2-1. Hoping to at least salvage a point from the game, MNUFC threw everything forward in six minutes of added time but before they could make anything of it, the overcommitted home side left the back door wide open as Miller pushed up and gave Barrios the chance to ping a ball forward to Lucas Esteves for an empty netter that was the Brazilian’s first goal in MLS.
The Rapids left Allianz Field with a 3-1 win, with all three goals coming in the second half after going down a man. The loss all but eliminates the possibility of MNUFC hosting a home playoff game and adds extra urgency to staying above the playoff line period.
AUSTIN FC vs. MINNESOTA UNITED FC
Q2 Stadium | Austin, Texas
10.16.21 | MLS Week No. 30 | MLS Game No. 29
8:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North+, The CW Twin Cities, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)