When Minnesota United and New England have met in the past, it has been a battle with neither team losing at home. This year, the teams met under unusual circumstances with the Loons not having played a league match in 23 days and New England coming off a Wednesday evening tilt. After the first 45 minutes, it appeared that this game might play out a bit differently than it had in the past. However, all of those past things reigned true once again with the 2-1 win going to the hosting team of New England.
The game kicked off with immediate fast-paced play from both sides, which showed a lot of positives and negatives. With the rate of play, there were good opportunities created. However, Minnesota struggled to succeed in the middle of the field, with many of their mistakes resulting from overeagerness in the box. The easiest pass is sometimes the best pass, and the Loons at times just tried to do too much. They would have benefitted from relaxing, holding possession, and not forcing opportunities.
New England showed a lot of strength in the offensive attack. The Revolution had many dangerous plays in which brilliantly-placed balls behind the Loons defense gave them opportunities in the attacking third. New England kept more possession in the first half, but great defensive play from the Loons, especially by DJ Taylor, kept them from getting any shots on goal.
Even though the Loons had less possession, they were able to test the opposing keeper more often. Matt Turner was supposed to play his final MLS game today, but his new contract with Arsenal prevented him from doing so. Đorđe Petrović stepped up to take over the keeper role in his stead. The Loons came out testing his strength as much as possible with some solid attempts on goal, the bulk of which came from outside the box. However, Petrović showed his resolve and skill with some excellent saves.
It was a strong back and forth for much of the first half, with a lot of physical play from both sides. Due to the overall physicality of the game, it was raining yellow cards. Whistle after whistle gave a lot of set-piece opportunities for both teams, but neither were able to capitalize. That is until the 35th minute when Emmanuel Reynoso scored by way of a penalty kick. Reynoso was fed a gorgeous ball into the box, and while driving up the middle, was fouled. A yellow card and penalty kick were awarded. Reynoso took the kick and placed an easy pass into the left corner of the net.
After the goal, MNUFC came out very strong, wanting to add to their lead. The energy in their offensive attack created more opportunities for them, and some of those opportunities nearly paid off. Luis Amarilla had an excellent take in the 38th minute that hit the post and was barely smothered by the New England keeper. Even though opportunities were created for both sides, none of them came to fruition and the score was left at 1-0 at the half.
The beginning of the second half showed much of the same as the first half, with some solid attempts on each end. New England kept more of the possession, but their shots on goal went wide. MNUFC had less possession, but the few takes they had looked promising. This sort of play continued until Dylan Borrero broke through and got New England on the board.
In the 52nd minute, New England was executing a solid offensive attack. With smart passes and level-headed play, they were able to feed the ball to Borrero, who was in excellent positioning at the top of the box. Borrero ripped a shot that ricocheted off of another player, causing the ball to bounce. The ball then snuck under Dayne St. Claire’s arm and into the right side of the net.
The goal gave New England more confidence, and they continued their strong offensive attack. As New England was kicking it into gear, Minnesota began to lose a step in the attacking third. The Loons struggled to connect and made a few poor decisions up top. The solid Minnesota defense kept New England at bay, and the score remained 1-1 for a little while longer.
If it was raining yellow cards in the first half, it was pouring yellows in the second. It seemed like every time someone fell to the ground, a flash of yellow followed. Once again there were many set-piece opportunities, and New England received a very dangerous one in the 68th minute. Gustavo Bou had a free kick just outside of the box. With a gorgeously-placed ball, he curved his shot around the defensive wall and barely off of the fingertips of St. Clair. The ball sunk into the upper-left corner of the net and gave New England the lead.
Adrian Heath initiated some substitutions near the end of the game, no doubt in hopes that fresh players would give the push the Loons needed to play more on their toes. However, not much changed for the Loons offense. There was more energy on the attack, but passing continued to fall a bit short, which made it difficult to break through the New England defense.
Minnesota United finally picked up their attack in the 90th minute, but it was too little, too late. Their last big opportunity came in the 93rd minute when Reynoso had a free kick outside of the box. His ball hit the New England wall, and the defense cleared it from their half, which about sealed the final score. The Loons had all of the tools and opportunities to win this match, but in the end, weren't able to capitalize when they needed it most. Minnesota will continue their three-game road stretch with a trip to Miami next Saturday, where the boys will look to break past their low-scoring ceiling and fully capitalize on the many opportunities they have been able to create.
Inter Miami CF vs. Minnesota United FC
DRV PNK Stadium | Fort Lauderdale, Florida
06.25.22 | MLS Match 16
7:00 p.m. CT (Bally Sports North, The CW-Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)