Minnesota United traveled to the Golden State for one final road game this season, taking on the Earthquakes in the Capital of Silicon Valley. Despite a few promising moments, the Loons failed to capitalize on their chances and fell by a score of 2-0.
As their first game in two weeks kicked off, the Loons had everything to play for. The playoffs were on the line, with the right combination of results on the night making it possible for the Loons to qualify before the night was over. The opening minutes saw San Jose come out like a shot, forcing an incredible acrobatic save out of Dayne St. Clair in the 8th minute and setting the tone for a cagey match.
MNUFC needed time to grow into the game, evidenced by sloppy play in the first 10 minutes. Both teams conceded silly fouls, giving the ball away seemingly for fun. San Jose put together the better start, but it wouldn’t last forever.
20 minutes in, Minnesota United picked up the pace. Where once they were only playing long balls to Ménder García, the Loons began to move the ball more dynamically and freely. This play was punctuated by a moment of brilliance from Emanuel Reynoso, whose nutmeg and full-field switch were sublime, opening up the pitch for a counter attack that ended with a corner.
When the whistle blew for half, not much more of note had occurred. Scattered chances cropped up for both teams, but neither squad could find that extra bit of quality to pull ahead.
In the first half, the Loons 4-2–3-1 lineup left them vulnerable to the Quakes’ 4-3-3 formation. With wingers high and wide, San Jose was able to counter at will in the spaces left behind by the MNUFC fullbacks. Though this commitment to their tactics created chances, it left them exposed just as often. After 45 minutes, the match felt like whoever managed to score the opener would take all three points.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly how things played out. Just seven minutes into the second half, San Jose won a free kick just outside the 18. The kick deflected off of Reynoso, putting off St. Clair and giving the home side an unlikely, fortunate lead.
Contrary to what the scoreline suggested, the Loons were the better squad to start the final 45 minutes. The attack fizzled and stalled after the 65th minute, allowing the Quakes to add a second in the 71st minute. A combination of misfortune and a lack of killer instinct left them with no answers on the night, leaving their playoff dreams to wait until Decision Day.
Though this loss is tough to swallow, all is not lost. With tonight’s draw between Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy, the Loons can book their ticket to the playoffs with a win against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The postseason is not out of reach, and MNUFC still controls their own destiny.
Minnesota United FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
10.09.22 | MLS Game 34
4:00 pm CT (MLS LIVE on ESPN+, Bally Sports North, The CW - Twin Cities, 1500 ESPN)