A back-and-forth match granted Minnesota United a pair of one-goal leads but it was unable to hold on and, after going down to 10 men late, conceded a late stoppage time match-winner to Colorado Rapids in a 3-2 setback on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
After a promising start, the disappointing finish left Head Coach Adrian Heath and his side with a bitter taste in their mouths.
“It is a tough one to take tonight because at no stage did I think we were going to lose the game,” Heath said. “Overall I am disappointed with the result because I don’t think we deserved to take nothing from the game.”
Minnesota went on the offensive early with a clear M.O.: get the ball to midfielder Darwin Quintero and let him create. The Loons tested Colorado’s back line and goalkeeper Tim Howard with six shots on target in the first half, which were conjured from long lofted through balls and Quintero running at defenders with pace. After close calls for Quintero, midfielder Miguel Ibarra and forward Christian Ramirez, MNUFC’s heavy pressure finally paid off in the 21st minute.
On the play, midfielder Rasmus Schuller perfectly picked out Quintero with a long ball and Quintero’s deft first touch put him behind the defender and through on goal. The Colombian’s shot was stopped by Howard on the goal line, but was followed up by Ibarra who ran in and smashed the loose ball into the back of the net to give his side a 1-0 lead. The goal was Ibarra’s third of the season.
“We kept a lot of possession and switched the play a lot,” Heath said. “We had a lot of possession and I don’t think we did enough with it at times. That would be my only disappointment considering we had so much of the ball in the first half. I don’t think we had enough end products out of the game.”
The Rapids picked up after conceding the opening goal and utilized six corner kick opportunities to generate a few dangerous moments. But the Loons’ back line buckled down and stood strong to see the one-goal lead through to halftime. Minnesota’s defenders allowed just one shot to reach the goal in the first half — a 45th minute effort from former teammate Sam Nicholson that was easily handled by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
But as soon as MNUFC blinked, Colorado capitalized. In the 51st minute, Minnesota left Colorado midfielder Edgar Castillo enough space to cut central at the top of the box and he took advantage with a booming shot into the top right corner. The leveling goal further encouraged the Rapids, who took control in the midfield and enjoyed a long spell of chances.
In the face of Colorado’s momentum, Quintero and Ibarra teamed up again on a well-executed combination play to re-gain the lead. Quintero slid a ball to meet a perfectly timed Ibarra run in behind the defense and Ibarra dished to Ramirez in the six-yard box for an easy tap-in and the 2-1 advantage.
But the seesaw affair soon swung away from MNUFC. Shortly after coming on as a sub, Rapids midfielder Shkelzen Gashi cut the Loons open with a through ball for forward Joe Mason who tied the match at two in the 74th minute. Minnesota’s problems were compounded in the 77th minute as Ibarra was shown a red card after a skirmish while trying to re-start play after Mason’s goal.
“I was just trying to get the ball,” Ibarra said. “There was shoving back and forth and unfortunately I got the worst of it. I feel bad because the team lost now. Now I just have to move forward.”
Playing with 10 men, the Loons sat deep to try and escape with a point and were mere seconds away from doing so. Colorado racked up a 13-3 corners advantage and all of those chances finally paid off in the waning moments of the match. After winning a corner in the 97th minute, Rapids defender Tommy Smith rose up to meet the service and drove home the winning goal at the death.
“He attacked the ball and got across the top of our guy,” Heath said. “You’re disappointed because it is virtually the last kick of the game.”
After more than a month away from home, Minnesota United returns to the friendly confines of TCF Bank Stadium on Friday, June 29 for Pride Night against FC Dallas. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. CT. Pre-match coverage will begin at 6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North Plus, streaming on FOX Sports GO and on MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
Minnesota United FC Starting XI: GK Bobby Shuttleworth; D Tyrone Mears, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Alexi Gomez; M Rasmus Schuller, Collin Martin (Ibson 63’), Collen Warner; F Miguel Ibarra, Darwin Quintero (Wyatt Omsberg 84'), Christian Ramirez (Mason Toye 81’)
MIN Unused Subs: GK GK Alex Kapp; D Carter Manley; M Harrision Heath, Frantz Pangop
Colorado Rapids Starting XI: GK Tim Howard; D Tommy Smith, Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne; M Edgar Castillo, Jack Price, Marlon Hairston (Enzo Martinez 33'), Johan Blomberg (Shkelzen Gashi 69'), Sam Nicholson; F Dominique Badji, Jack McBean (Joe Mason 73')
COL Unused Subs: GK Zac MacMath; D Axel Sjoberg; M Micheal Ariza, Bismark Adjei-Boateng
20’ – Ibarra – MIN
50' – Castillo (Martinez) – COL
65' – Ramirez (Ibarra, Quintero) – MIN
74' – Mason (Gashi, Wilson) – COL
90'+7' – Smitch (Gashi) – COL
72’ – Shuttleworth (YC) – MIN
77’ – Ibarra (RC) – MI
77’ – Mason (YC) – COL