Minnesota United finally won their first match with of mix of good attacking and a Nick Rimando error
Minnesota United were arguably the most dominant team in MLS on Saturday. Does that sound like an April Fools’ Day joke? Well, it’s not.
The Loons dominated Real Salt Lake at home, 4-2, and earned their first win since joining MLS, curbing a nightmarish, record-setting trend of losing games by huge margins. It was right about when RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando conceded a horrible goal with an uncharacteristic mistake that it became clear the soccer gods were ready for Minnesota United to finally win a match.
Rimando’s howler that gifted Christian Ramirez the day’s easiest goal will be a talking point, but truth be told, Minnesota United were simply the better team on the day. They were aggressive and dynamic, and they stuck with the match even after conceding an early goal, which was just Real Salt Lake’s second goal of the season.
The Loons were relentless in out-shooting RSL and could’ve had another couple more goals if they finished their chances better.
Coach Adrian Heath made significant line-up changes to the squad that has come out in recent weeks.
Midfielder Rasmus Schuller started on the Loons bench for the first time while centerback Vadim Demidov returned to the bench. Justin Davis and Francisco Calvo both returned to the back line. Kevin Molino and Johan Venegas both returned from international duty, which bolstered an attack that was never Minnesota’s problem this season.
Of course, the opponent has something to do with Minnesota’s change in fortune. RSL have struggled through the first five weeks of this MLS season and they only scored their second and third goals on Saturday vs. Minnesota, a team that has been conceding goals at a record rate.
RSL fired coach Jeff Cassar after three poor weeks and replaced him with Mike Petke, who was at Saturday’s match but will officially take the bench next week. Injuries have played a role in disrupting RSL’s season and they were very thin in the back on Saturday, but they’ve also been very ineffective through the first five weeks of the season.
The problem with Minnesota was never really in the attack and they proved as much on Saturday. They had good speed, created chances and scored goals — and although Minnesota have conceded goals at a stunning rate, they also have yet to be shut out in MLS competition. Now, with the attack and defending both doing their part, albeit against a team with its own struggles, the Loons finally have their first win.
It’s only one win against a rather poor RSL team, but it’s a desperately-needed confidence boost for a team that had little reason for morale. This win comes just as the Loons have made some key trades that should boost their squad and, just like that, things are looking up.
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