Minnesota United tasted defeat for the first time in the 2022 season, falling to the Seattle Sounders by a score of 2-1 on a chilly night at Allianz Field. The first half swung in favor of Seattle, who held 65% of the possession and put five shots on goal to keep Dayne St. Clair busy between the sticks
Minnesota was not without its chances, though, and nearly opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Abu Danladi, making his first start of the 2022 season, found himself on the end of a Wil Trapp cross after a nice run-up from both Trapp and Emanuel Reynoso on a counter attack. Danladi brought the ball down with his chest and nearly beat Sounders keeper Stefan Frei with a right-footed shot, but the ball found too much of the woodwork and deflected out of harm’s way.
Seattle had a golden opportunity to open the scoring on their end of the pitch not even 10 minutes later. João Paulo took a few crafty touches with the ball on an impressive run up the right flank and eventually drew a foul on Bakaye Dibassy outside the box. Nicolas Lodeiro, playing for the first time since Seattle’s season opener on February 27th, dropped the free kick right onto Cristian Roldán’s head in the center of the six-yard-box. St. Clair made the save but couldn’t handle the awkward attempt cleanly, and the ball fell right to Jordan Morris in the middle of the area, but the U.S. International skied it over the crossbar.
St. Clair was called upon again moments later in the 27th minute. Lodeiro found a chunk of space down the right wing and sent the ball into Morris, who made a clever run to get open along the touch line. Morris flicked the ball back to Will Bruin, who was unmarked in the center of the box but couldn’t beat St. Clair near post.
Frei’s elite goalkeeping services weren’t technically called on until the 35th minute of action. Luis Amarilla made a nice headed pass to Robin Lod in space just outside the box. Lod put a strong blast on target with his right foot, but went straight to the capable hands of Frei.
João Paulo broke the tie for Seattle in the 38th minute. Lodeiro made a dangerous run down the left flank and demanded the attention of the Minnesota defense, which left a wide open patch of grass in the middle of the field. Lodeiro tapped a perfectly-weighted ball with his left foot to the top of the box, where Paulo was waiting to smash it into the top right corner.
Prior to Paulo’s goal, Minnesota hadn’t conceded a goal since the 5th minute of its home-opening match against Nashville, good for just over 300 consecutive minutes of match time without conceding.
Adrian Heath brought on Honduran International Joseph Rosales at halftime for Danladi and moved the team into a 4-3-3 formation. Rosales’ pace and energy as an extra man in the midfield brought the Loons closer to level on their own possession and brought more discomfort to Seattle when the Sounders had the ball.
Unfortunately, disaster struck for the Loons in the opening minutes of the second half. Morris got the ball in space down the left side and looked to cross the ball to Roldán at the far post. The cross deflected off defender Brent Kallman and rolled to the back of the net to make it 2-0 Seattle. The own goal marked the first friendly fire of the season and also the first time Minnesota has conceded in the second half in 2022.
Heath brought on two more substitutions in the 63rd with the Loons down two and pressing to tilt the field and momentum back in their favor. Bongokuhle Hlongwane came on for DJ Taylor, and Kemar Lawrence made his Loons debut, subbing on for Kallman.
Hlongwane’s energy could be felt early and often after he subbed on. He and Amarilla sparked a crafty run down the right side, winning a corner off Sounders defender Jackson Ragen in the 68th minute, but Reynoso’s ensuing corner was no problem for the Seattle defense.
Rosales, seemingly always finding the ball in dangerous patches of grass for the entire second half, had an opportunity to open his Loons scoring account in serious style from outside the box in the 70th minute, but his hopeful shot sailed wide right.
Rosales did play a huge part in getting the Loons on the scoreboard when he drew a foul from Ragen in the box to win a PK in the 81st minute. Reynoso stepped up to the spot for Minnesota and sent Frei the wrong way, smashing his left-footed attempt in the lower right corner to get his name on the score sheet for the first time in 2022.
The Loons had multiple opportunities for an equalizer after winning their third corner of the evening in the 85th minute. Michael Boxall got his head on a headed pass from Lod off of Reynoso’s corner, but couldn’t squeeze it past the swarm of Sounders surrounding Frei. The ball deflected out to Lod with plenty of space, but Frei was able to swat it away.
Minnesota’s best chance to equalize came in the 88th minute. Lawrence sent a high, arching cross into the middle of the box. Frei, in a very un-Frei-like moment, bobbled the catch, dropping the ball to the waiting right foot of Amarilla, but Minnesota’s leading scorer poked the ball just too wide to the left.
The Loons remained on the front foot for all four minutes of stoppage time and created multiple chances, but ultimately couldn’t find the equalizer in a frustrating tale of two halves
The loss marks the first time Seattle has taken all three points in a game at Allianz Field. The Sounders now hold a win, a loss, and a draw in their three games played in St. Paul. Seattle continues to be a frustrating force for the Loons, and now hold a 9-1-1 all-time advantage across all matches played in regular season and playoffs.
Next up for MNUFC is a trip down south to face Austin FC next Sunday. Both teams currently occupy the five-way tie for third place in Western Conference with eight points on the year, following Austin’s 2-2 draw in tonight’s road game at San Jose.
Minnesota United FC at Austin FC
Q2 Stadium | Austin, Texas
04.10.22 | MLS Game No. 6
6:30 pm CT (FS1, FOX Deportes, SKOR North)