Courtesy of Minnesota United FC.


Minnesota Lose Game and Shutout Streak to San Jose

by on 30 April 2017

Minnesota United gave up a 54th minute game winning goal to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening, stopping their shutout streak at 192 minutes. The loss brings the Loons to a 2-5-2 record. San Jose, who had come into the game with no goals in their last two games, pushed their record to 3-3-3.

Minnesota’s win against Colorado caused head coach Adrian Heath to use the same lineup two weeks in a row, a first for the new MLS team.

Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear made four changes to his lineup from last week. One of those changes was putting in Victor Bernardez at central defense, whose physicality seemed to give Loons striker Christian Ramirez trouble much of the night.

First half

The announced crowd of 17,605 had hoped to see Minnesota jump out to a quick start. But not unlike the previous week’s game against Colorado, they struggled to find connections through the middle of the field in the first 45 minutes of action.

The best early scoring opportunity went to the Earthquakes in 14th minute. Cordell Cato received a cross at the top left side of the box. With a few moves, he created enough space to unleash a curling shot that hooked up and around Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, only to hit the crossbar and carom away. Miguel Ibarra slid in to block the follow-up cross from the left side of the box to get the Loons out of trouble.

Despite the lack of good finishing balls, United’s defense again looked much more solid than the display fans saw early in the season. In the 31st minute, Chris Wondolowski received a through-ball with right back Jérôme Thiesson slightly out of position. Center back Francisco Calvo swapped places with Thiesson, marking up on Wondolowski while the Swiss defender gave cover.

Late in the half, Ramirez and Kevin Molino had a nice give-and-go in the box, with Molino being flattened on the tackle and calling for a foul. Ramirez smartly kept playing and drove a hard ball toward Quakes keeper David Bingham, who was able to make a reflex save after glancing off his defender’s leg.

Second half

In the 54th minute, San Jose was awarded a corner. Jahmir Hyka played a driven curling ball to the far post which, somehow, found its way through several Minnesota defenders. The ball fell to the feet of Wondolowski who crossed the ball back to Florian Jungwirth on the left side of goal, tapping in from one yard out and putting the Earthquakes up 1-0.

The Loons leaned heavily on Shuttleworth, who was called on to keep the deficit to one goal. Marco Ureña was sent clear on the left side of the box. He rifled the ball low, forcing the Loons keeper into a reflex drop save.

Kofi Sarkodie saved his team from a draw in the 76th minute when he cleared a Calvo half-scissor from three yards out. Sarkodie was manning the near post and his quick reactions allowed him to head the ball away and keep the Loons off the board.

Both teams had a few chances for the remainder of the game, but the highlights mainly came from the Loons substitutions. Abu Danladi came off the bench in the 64th minute for Johan Venegas who had another disappointing game. Minnesotan Ismaila Jome made his MLS debut when he came on in the 79th minute for Kevin Molino. Neither player looked out of place and Heath said afterwards they added the spark to the team that he wasn’t seeing from his starters.

“I wanted a little bit more energy,” said Heath after the game. “I thought the two youngins came on and gave us that. They gave their teammates a lift, they gave the fans a lift. I support my players but I thought we were a little bit lacking tonight.”

Heath said he thought Danladi played well enough that he may see a start next week.

“Disappointed” is the word Loons head coach Heath used to describe his team’s performance. “It was a nearly night. We were nearly good, we nearly had the ball and nearly got it to people. It was just disappointing after how we have played the last three or four weeks.”

Molino seemed to agree with his coach’s description of the “nearly game.” “I think we were just a pass away from a goal,” said Molino, who has not scored in 434 minutes dating back to April 3. “Sometimes we are not on the same page. It happens in the game. It’s part of the game.”

Match statistics

Minnesota United  — San Jose Earthquakes
Stadium: TCF Bank Stadium
Kickoff: 7 p.m.
Weather: 54°, Party Sunny

Scoring summary
54’ – Florian Jungwirth
Assisted By: Chris Wondolowski, Jahmir Hyka

64′ Abu Danladi for Johan Venegas
78′ Simon Dawkins for Danny Hoesen
78′ Fatai Alashe for Chris Wondolowski
79′ Ismaila Jome for Kevin Molino
81′ Nick Lima for Kofi Sarkodie
90’ Bashkim Kadrii for Miguel Ibarra

87′ David Bingham: Time wasting
90’+3′ Jerome Thiesson: Unsporting Behavior

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  • Wes

    Calvo gets a star from us two weeks in a row, which I can’t really disagree with, but Shuttleworth deserves a lot of credit. He was fantastic last night.
    Ibson was also Dr. Jekyl version of Ibson last night. He was immense.
    But man, the attack was just off last night. Almost there, but not quite.

    • Eric Beckman

      Watching the match live I have the sense that the players are still getting to know each other. This is only the second time this lineup has been together. San Jose seemed to adjust to what the Loons did to a depleted Colorado side. I’m just hoping that more time will translate into more fluidity. I do love watching Ibson and Molino on the ball, though. Ibarra had some great touches, too.

      Team shape, on the other hand, seems to be progressing more. Along with the strong individual play of Calvo and Shuttleworth is slowing draining the “waiting for a calamity” aspect of the watching the team.

      • Austin

        Ibson and Molino on the ball is terrifying. Molino holds onto the ball way too long, his success rate is very low. Ibson, I can’t stand watching him. occasionally he’ll make a nice dribble move or pass but he’s too slow, doesn’t make the right pass, and throws fits when he makes mistakes. Numerous times I’ve seen him make a bad pass or turnover the ball and he’ll just throw his hands up in the air, instead of getting back on D.

  • Pete Bissen

    Danladi came on and made an instant impact. His speed and quickness gave the Loons a spark. Start him in place of Venegas and see if the Loons can get a first-half goal or two. Could be a risk with his lack of defensive attributes but I think it would be worth a shot against SKC. They have a strong defense and MNUFC could surprise them with this game plan.

    • Mark

      See above for why it would be a bad idea. Dunladi just doesn’t yet have the touch necessary to be an impact player. He is young and fast….yes….but he lacks touch on the ball.

      • Pete Bissen

        Yep. I watched the game a second time and saw it was a short-lived spark and he wasn’t as effective as I thought. Either way, Ramirez needs help and MNUFC doesn’t have a capable replacement.

        • Austin

          #21 is too one dimensional, outside of the 18 he’s not much help. He’s a poacher inside the 18, in the right place at the right time.

  • Scherbs

    J. Venegas has been suboptimal for that last couple of weeks. taking too much time on the ball, turning it over. Seems to fall over very easily, not diving, just not very physical. Time to start Danladi. He looked really good on Sat. Let’s see what he can do as a starter. Molino looked less than impressive on sat as well. Not sure if we are just in an offensive slump, or if teams are starting to figure us out. or both. I did think Ibarra is looking much better and had a pretty decent game. Ish looked very tentative, which is understandable in his MLS debut. Once he started to settle down a bit he looked dangerous. When he did his stepover and blew by the Quakes defender, that was a pretty good sign for the future.

    • Mark

      Dunladi’s touch was terrible. He blew at least five chances when he misplayed the ball at critical moments. Yes he ran fluidly but really played poorly with the ball. He’s not yet ready for prime time.

  • MmattN

    Is Molino’s preferred position out on the left? If so, ignore this.

    Why does Heath keep starting Molino on the left and Ibarra on the right? For all the stability Burch provides as a defender he hardly ever gets involved in the attack and basically leaves Molino alone on an island up and down the left wing. I would rather see Molino back on the right where he and Theisson had a good thing going and put Ibarra out on the left. Ibarra has the speed and quickness to gobble up that open space on the left which becomes all the more dangerous when defenses have to start focusing on the attack on the right.

  • C_A

    We need a soccer specific pitch, with real grass. The turf on the TCF
    stadium is terrible. It is horrifying to see plumes of rubber pallets
    in the air after every slide or serious kick of the ball. Players seem
    to be running in slow motion on it, trying to keep their balance, and
    they have big issues trying to find that perfect touch of the ball.

    Now to the players.

    By far, Calvo was the man of the match for United. He saved us on several occasions and he was our main threat on the offense. He should have gotten that goal, when a SJ player saved his shot on the goal line, and what a goal would that have been!!! And when your best player is your CB, it speaks volumes about the game.

    Bobby is goalie that we prayed for in the preseason. Great addition proving his worth in every game.

    Kallman pretty solid, although he had his contribution to SJ goal.

    Burch and Tiesson have brought stability to our flanks, but Tiesson is having a better contribution on the offense right now. He was clearly more active in the game against SJ.

    Cronin seemed half step behind the play at times. You can tell him and Ibson, while providing a lot of experience and soccer IQ, are getting a bit long in the tooth. Probably this is where we could use a quality younger DP.

    Venegas and Molino both tried their best, but they have to stop trying those fancy dribbles on this terrible pitch. As other people have observed, Venegas seems a bit to fragile. He is falling down too easy and pretty soon refs will start taxing him for diving. Molino had few dangerous crosses but he needs to be more aggressive.

    Ibarra had some good moments, but he needs to run with his head up.

    Ramirez was slightly overpowered by the strong and experienced Quake defense so he could not be his usual self.

    Danladi showed promise but he is still a rookie proven by the chance he wasted late in the game when, instead of taking an extra step to turn towards the goal, his shot from an awkward position and his shot went wide.

    Jome… I was puzzled when he was signed to the team. I have seen him last year in NASL and he did not impress me a bit. The fact he made his debut last game, replacing of Molino of all, when Kadrii was on the bench, is a mystery larger then life. He could not provide a decent cross if his life was depending on that. The little, fancy stepover he did, was not that impressive, when it was not followed up by a cross. There are n+1 players out there that can do a stepover, but then get lost in details.

    Kadrii… Too little, too late, and above all, in the wrong spot. As I said, a mystery why was he not introduced earlier instead of Jome.

    Coach Heath – Few baffling decisions by Coach Heath in this game. 1. Putting Jome in place of Molino. 2. Introducing Kadrii too late in the game. 3. Not directing/allowing Molino to switch places with Ibarra.

    General observations. 1. We play too much from the back, in our own half. While it is a possession driven style of play, it is not creating as many chances as when you maintain possession in the attacking half of the pitch. We need to be a little more direct and accurate with our passes up front.

    2. We need to be more aggressive and press the other teams up high in their own half. Winning the ball upfront will create lot more chances than slowing coming from the back.