On a positively swampy evening at TCF Bank Stadium that saw the thermometer climb toward three digits, Minnesota United fell short 1-0 to a visiting FC Dallas squad they nearly doubled up in shots. Missing midfielder and spark plug Miguel Ibarra to a red card suspension, Head Coach Adrian Heath opted to rejigger his usual 4-2-3-1 formation into a 3-5-2. Despite a largely staunch defensive performance and a wealth of chances, the home side was ultimately undone in their fifth annual Pride Match by a Roland Lamah header off a setpiece in the 59th minute.
“Certainly, the most chances we’ve created in a game,” said Heath. “Most corners. We had some good opportunities tonight, and the longer it goes, you always leave yourself susceptible. Another poor goal to concede. Four. That’s the fourth in the last six games we’ve conceded from a corner. Somebody not picking their man up. I keep going over it, I keep talking about it. Unfortunately at the moment, we’re not learning the lesson. And football, sometimes you get what you deserve, and sometimes you don’t, and that was one of them that we didn’t. I think the worst that we deserved is a draw out of the game. And certainly, some of our play I thought was some excellent performances from some individuals.”
The early returns on the formation shift were positive, with Alexi Gomez (typically a winger) and Tyrone Mears (typically a right back) slotting into a conservative wingback role that often gave the Loons five men at the back. Although Dallas often managed to work the ball through the middle third given the amount of space, they consistently found themselves frustrated by the trio of Michael Boxall, Wyatt Omsberg and Brent Kallman when they got into the box.
On the other end of the pitch, they managed to apply pressure on the goal, largely through the efforts of midfielder Darwin Quintero, who slid into more of a second striker role. The result was a plethora of corner kicks — 13 in all to FC Dallas’ three.
“Darwin [Quintero] put three or four balls into Christian [Ramirez], Ras [Schuller] and people,” said Heath. “Like, world class balls. Probably the only guy on the field who could see them passes. And we didn’t make enough of them.”
The home side also dialed up a healthy number of shots from distance, including a blast from midfielder Rasmus Schuller in the 13th minute that missed wide right and several from Gomez, the best of which nearly skimmed the crossbar in the 30th minute and came close to making up for a woeful corner kick he had just taken from the right corner. Gomez overall was active and looking to push hard at Dallas’ backline and down the wings.
“Alexi Gomez had a good game,” said Heath. “I thought he gave us something tonight. I thought he gave us energy and some desire. Collen Warner was outstanding. He covered every bit of the stadium tonight.”
FC Dallas was clearly feeling the absence of Mauro Diaz, an important cog in their offense. Reports have Diaz heading to the Middle East and he has not appeared for Dallas since June 9 against Montreal.
Following the halftime break, Minnesota cranked up the pressure and for a solid 10 minutes looked inches away from pulling ahead. In the 51st minute, forward Christian Ramirez floated along the edge of the penalty box from left to right and then fired a low shot that curled just wide of the left post. Two minutes later, Quintero sent a diagonal ball into midfielder Ibson, who also pulled it left. In the 56th minute, Ibson got another chance as Quintero slotted a ball in from the right side and just out of range of his outstretched boot.
On a hot evening like this one, expending a bunch of energy on piling forward without getting that final ball can be dangerous, and it proved to be just that in the 59th minute. Midfielder Santiago Mosquera had just checked in for FC Dallas when he lined up a corner kick on the right side that found Roland Lamah’s head. Lamah drilled it right past Shuttleworth to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
“When we defend and we’ve got five at the back, they didn’t really look like they were scoring,” said Heath. “But concerned that we weren’t getting enough bodies forward. We kept getting Darwin [Quintero] on the ball, and he kept producing a pass for us. I honestly felt, and I said at halftime on the field to Jamie [Watson], that the first goal was going to be massive. They were the ones who got it.”
The chances kept coming for Minnesota, including a point blank chance from Kallman off a Quintero free kick in the 62nd minute that went over the crossbar and a wide-open look for Ibson from the top of the box that missed just wide right. Heath tried to get a spark off the bench from substitutes Mason Toye, Carter Manley and Frantz Pangop but for whatever reason, the Loons just couldn’t get the ball in the net, despite quality looks.
Following the 1-0 loss, Minnesota stays at home for its Salute to Freedom match on Wednesday, July 4 against visiting Toronto FC. That match kicks off at 6:00 p.m. at TCF Bank Stadium with pre-match coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. on FOX Sports North+ and MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN.
Minnesota United FC Starting XI: GK Bobby Shuttleworth; D Wyatt Omsberg (Mason Toye 65’), Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman; M Tyrone Mears (Carter Manley 77’), Collin Warner, Ibson, Rasmus Schuller (Frantz Pangop 77’), Alexi Gomez; F Darwin Quintero, Christian Ramirez
MIN Unused Subs: GK Matt Lampson; M Collin Martin, Harrison Heath, Maximiano
FC Dallas Starting XI: GK Jesse Gonzalez; D Reggie Cannon, Kristoffer Reaves (Ryan Hollingshead 78’), Matt Hedges, Maynor Figueroa; M Carlos Gruezo, Victor Ulloa, Roland Lamah; F Michael Barrios (Kellyn Acosta 69’), Maximiliano Urruti, Paxton Pomykal (Santiago Mosquera 57’)
FCD Unused Subs: GK Jimmy Maurer; D Jordan Cano; M Jacori Hayes; F Tesho Akindele
59’ – Lamah (Mosquera) – FCD
11’ – Boxall (YC) – MIN
26’ – Hedges (YC) – FCD
79’ – Cannon (YC) – FCD
89’ – Toye (YC) – MIN