#50kToMidway: First MLS Win

As we count down to a record-breaking crowd, we're taking a look back at the historic moments that helped to shape soccer in Minnesota. From the Kicks in NASL to your hometown Minnesota United, it's time to celebrate soccer past and present at TCF Bank Stadium on Oct. 21 when MNUFC breaks an attendance record that has stood for more than 40 years, ever since a crowd of 49,572 fans came to Metropolitan Stadium to watch the Minnesota Kicks beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-1 and win the NASL Conference Championship.

It was no April Fool’s joke in 2017 when the Loons played host to Real Salt Lake in their second home game in MLS. Despite falling behind early, MNUFC battled back with a quick answer via a Kevin Molino header to level the score. The teams went into the locker room even at one goal each, and MNUFC came out for the second half with a high-powered attack.

Seven minutes into the second half, Christian Ramirez and Molino connected on a give-and-go that set up Ramirez for an easy one-on-one with Real Salt Lake’s goalkeeper, Nick Rimando, to give the Loons the lead. Ten minutes after netting his first, Ramirez stole the ball off the feet of Rimando, who tried to dribble away from the MNUFC forward, and walked the ball into the visitor’s net.

The Loons were not satisfied with just three goals, and added to their total in the 68th minute when Molino picked a defender’s pocket, drove the ball into the penalty area and laid a pass across to Johan Venegas for a tap-in.

The final goal was the cherry on top of a long-awaited day in Minnesota’s soccer history. As time expired, the black-and-blue clad supporters raised their scarves and their voices for the first “Wonderwall” in their MLS tenure.

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