A little over 76 hours after facing the LA Galaxy at Allianz Field, Minnesota United headed to San Jose to square up against the Quakes. Lacking Robin Lod, Franco Fragapane and Niko Hansen, Head Coach Adrian Heath found it difficult to rotate the squad much. While the Loons would go up a man following a red card for San Jose defender Nathan in the 21st minute and capitalize with a goal from Wil Trapp in the 22nd, the Quakes stood tall and Minnesota’s energy flagged, leading to a 1-1 draw following an early own goal from the visitors.
San Jose, riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, opened the game playing tough and with a lot of physicality. While Head Coach Matias Almeyda’s side has moved away from their aggressive man-marking, it was clear from the outset that the home team was not going to give anything away easily. From the start, winger Cristian Espinoza dedicated himself to putting the screws to left back DJ Taylor, starting in place of Chase Gasper. It paid off for San Jose early on in the 12th minute as Espinoza captured a long diagonal pass and sent in a vicious low cross that caught defender Bakaye Dibassy’s foot and went in for an own goal and a 1-0 lead for the Quakes.
But San Jose’s aggression would soon go a step too far. In the 21st minute, defender Nathan flew into Dibassy with his studs up, connecting high up on the Frenchman’s shin and earning a red card for the Brazilian. Minnesota wasted no time in pressing the issue. In the 22nd minute, midfielder Emanuel Reynoso sent a long cross all the way across the box from the left wing, finding a waiting Ethan Finlay who knocked it one-time in to forward Adrien Hunou. Hunou corralled it before spinning and finding midfielder Wil Trapp for a slow roller onto the far post that gave Trapp his first goal in Black and Blue and drew the game level at 1-1.
The Loons came tantalizingly close to nudging out ahead in the 27th minute as a quick counterattack found Hunou, who deked his man and finished with a chip over goalkeeper JT Marcinkoswki only to have the goal called back for an offside call. Down the stretch of the first half, several Minnesota players had decent chances go begging, including a header from Reynoso off a Finlay cross from the right wing and a solid strike by Hassani Dotson off a slick back heel from Hunou in the box. At the death, goalkeeper Tyler Miller made a full extension save to keep Espinoza’s blast out of the top left corner and the teams headed into the lockers dead even.
In the second half, the Quakes continued to play conservatively with their 10 men, although they still looked for chances to get the ball out on the run whenever possible. In the 52nd minute, chaos in the box nearly led to a Minnesota goal as Reynoso floated out wide to the right and picked up the ball at the edge of the box before driving for the enplane. Stopping on a dime, he cut back inside and sent the ball into Finlay, who couldn’t get a clean look at it but left it bouncing around the six-yard box. It fell to Hunou who managed a shot that was blocked and bounced back into his arm for a handball.
Both coaches would tweak their lineups as the second half wore on, with Heath taking off an injured Gregus for winger Justin McMaster and later replacing Hunou with Juan Agudelo, but the heavy legs for a Loons squad that had just played on Saturday afternoon quickly became apparent. The game devolved into a back and forth affair lacking any real tempo or flow — a situation that San Jose seemed more than happy to weather.
In the 90th minute, it looked for a moment like the Quakes would have a late opportunity to go up as substitute Cade Cowell went down in the box on a challenge from DJ Taylor, but a quick video review did not overturn the call. Having escape by a hair, MNUFC nearly got their own second goal a few minutes later in the final minute of stoppage time as they got a flurry of chances late in the box that got knocked down time and again. In the end, the Loons had to console themselves with a point on the road as they set their sights on a matchup this weekend with Western Conference leading Sporting Kansas City.
MINNESOTA UNITED vs. SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
08.21.21 | MLS Week No. 19 | MLS Game No. 20
2:30 p.m. CT (ESPN, MNUFC Radio on SKOR North)