They may be leading the Western Conference, but can they do it on a cold, rainy night in Saint Paul? Apparently so. Minnesota United fell to St. Louis CITY SC by a score of 2-1 on Saturday night, letting an early second-half lead slip through their fingers in the 73rd minute.
The match started out in promising fashion, with the speed of Sang Bin Jeong adding a new dimension to the Loons’ attack in the 10 position. Encouraging interplay between Sang Bin and Teemu Pukki seemed to indicate that goals were on the way, but it would ultimately end up being a frustrating night for the squad.
Some excellent first-half play from Wil Trapp and DJ Taylor helped MNUFC keep the majority of possession, putting together quality attacks that either lacked that final pass or simply failed to beat the imposing figure of Roman Burki. The Loons looked comfortable with the ball, but no one had the finishing touch that was needed to get the advantage.
The second half couldn’t have started off better for the home side, as Burki tore down Hassani Dotson in the box to concede a penalty in the 46th minute. Pukki stepped up to slot it home with ease, giving his side the advantage and lifting the mood of a soaking wet Allianz Field crowd. The Loons continued to put the pressure on, firing off five shots within the first 15 minutes of the second 45.
At the hour mark, St. Louis made three subs to change the game. João Klauss found the equalizer in the 60th minute with a brave header, turning the tide and changing the game. Njabulo Blom found what ended up being the winner in the 73rd minute, capping off the comeback and stealing three points from Saint Paul.
In the closing stages of the game, the Loons had several close calls. However, they couldn’t find it in them to grab the equalizer. The return of Kervin Arriaga proved to be the most uplifting moment in the latter part of the second half, though his impact will likely be felt more in the remaining games of the 2023 season.
MNUFC is staying at home for their next game, as San Jose is scheduled to come to town next weekend. Kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. CT, with streaming available exclusively on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass.
Minnesota United FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
Allianz Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota
09.30.23 | MLS Game 30
7:30 pm CT (Streaming on AppleTV’s MLS Season Pass)