As we prepare for Minnesota United’s first-ever home playoff game on Sunday, October 20 against the LA Galaxy, we’re taking an opportunity to look back at 10 of our favorite moments from what was a historic, dramatic and action-packed 2019 regular season.
Down two goals at the half and playing in the sweltering Houston heat is enough to provide any team with a multitude of excuses to quit – not Minnesota United.
Dissatisfied with his team’s performance in the first half of this year’s Round of 16 Open Cup against the Houston Dynamo, Head Coach Adrian Heath shifted to a 4-2-3-1 formation. The change breathed new life into the side and opened up opportunities for Darwin Quintero.
The Colombian got the visitors on the board in the 66th minute through some lovely combination play with forward Angelo Rodriguez, allowing the midfielder to tap it home from close range. Quintero then latched onto an Ethan Finlay pass and fired an unstoppable curled effort from long range to level the game in the 82nd minute.
Not content to play for extra time, it was second half substitute Mason Toye who ultimately made the difference. An intelligent, darting and unpredictable run off the back shoulder of the Dynamo’s Alejandro Fuenmayor allowed Toye get on the end of fellow subs Finlay’s low cross to complete a stunning 3-2 comeback and win the game in the 89th minute for the Loons.
“We’ve all played in games when you’re 2-nil up and you end up losing the game,” said Heath. “The next goal was going to determine how the game went. Playing here, it can give you an excuse to quit at times but they didn’t. They kept going, and we live to fight another day."
The win secured a home matchup for the squad against the Portland Timbers in the semifinal — as far as any Minnesota team had advanced in the tournament. From there, it was on to the Final in Atlanta, but none of it would have been possible without the improbable comeback in Houston.