Photo by Daniel Mick.

Photo by Daniel Mick.


Minnesota Bend, Then Break Against Seattle Losing 2-1 in Last Minute

by on 21 August 2017

Late Sunday night, the Loons lost a point on the road as a late Clint Dempsey penalty sealed the win for Seattle. Chad Marshall scored on a set piece for Seattle after new signing Ethan Finlay scored his first goal for Minnesota.

Starting lineups

Minnesota United’s last game was against Seattle at TCF Bank Stadium. That was two weeks ago, changes have been made to the roster through transfers, and that was reflected in the starting XI.

New signing Ethan Finlay made his first start for the Loons after moving from Columbus. He would line up opposite of Sam Nicholson. Brent Kallman returned from injury to start in the middle with Michael Boxall. Usual center back Francisco Calvo moved out left, this was his first game out at left back for Minnesota. Even though Christian Ramirez traveled with the team, he did not make the matchday eighteen. Ramirez has not played since being subbed off in the first half in a 4-0 win against D.C. United.

In his place, rookie Abu Danladi was up top in front of Kevin Molino. Ibson and Sam Cronin continued their time in the midfield together, Jérôme Thiesson remained at right back, and Bobby Shuttleworth set up between the posts.

After missing the last clash between these two sides due to injury, Ozzie Alonso returned to the starting XI alongside Gustav Svensson who has played in every MLS match for Seattle this year. Cristian Roldan moved from his midfield spot to the wing opposite Nicolás Lodeiro, and Jordan Morris would be the lone striker in front of Clint Dempsey. Stefan Frei lined up behind the solid defense of Joevin Jones, Marshall, Román Torres, and Kelvin Leerdam.

First half

After a positive start for Minnesota, they would be the team to strike first. A scramble for the ball on the wing caught Molino and Ibson on one side of the pitch, so Finlay moved into the open space in the middle of the pitch. The Brazilian midfielder found the new man streaking into the box with Seattle defender Joevin Jones being nice enough to escort Finlay toward goal. In his first start for his new team, Finlay placed the ball past Frei to gain the lead on the road for Minnesota.

Late in the second half, Minnesota allowed Seattle to level the score off a set piece. A free kick on the right side of the box was curled in by Nicolás Lodeiro and easily headed home by big Chad Marshall. Set pieces have certainly been a weak spot in the Loon’s defense, as was made clear on the broadcast.

Seattle probably felt that they could have done more in the first half but was frustrated by the Loons early on. Minnesota held possession well in the first 15 minutes and didn’t allow Seattle to play as freely as they would have liked. Minnesota also could have ended the half on top, however, both teams were only able to convert once.

Danladi had the best-missed chance of the half as he shot just wide just after Finlay’s goal. Minnesota should have felt good walking into the locker room tied with the reigning champions. It should be noted that Kallman had a fantastic half. He was always in the right place at the right time and looked comfortable with the ball at his feet in his own box. Especially after losing 4-0 to Seattle in their last league game.

Second half

Early on in the second half, Danladi let a golden opportunity go wanting. Danladi showed good awareness to jump on a back pass from a Seattle defender. Frei charged and Danladi barely rounded him. The ensuing shot went just wide, much to the chagrin of Minnesota fans and the relief of Seattle fans.

Some back and forth around the hour mark led to an extended break after Calvo went down with an injury; he would continue. Will Bruin was subbed in for Svensson signaling that Seattle would switch to a more attacking focus. Immediately after the substitution, Leerdam curled a ball into the box that was tipped by Kallman. The ball fell to Dempsey who headed the ball straight to Shuttleworth who smartly stayed on his line. This would be the beginning of Seattle taking control of the game. Minnesota would need to focus on defending and looking for opportune times to counter attack.

Jermaine Taylor entered the fray in place of Molino. Taylor would look to batten down the hatches and hopefully help Minnesota leave Seattle with a point. Bruin was almost in on goal in the 80th minute but was beaten to the ball by Shuttleworth. Nicholson would soon make way for Miguel Ibarra after taking a knock.

In the dying embers of the game, Jermaine Taylor was ruled to have handled the ball in the box. The ref did not hesitate in calling a penalty. VAR was available but not needed as Taylor clearly had his hand in an unnatural position. Dempsey would convert despite Shuttleworth getting a hand to the shot. It was too late for Minnesota to mount a comeback; Heath’s decision to bunker down for the point was all for naught.

Seattle had the chances to put this one away a lot earlier. Bruin changed the game after he came on, and he made the Seattle attack a lot more dangerous. If it was not for some good saves from Shuttleworth and some last-ditch tackles and interceptions, Seattle would have scored a lot sooner.

Three Stars

Match ratings


Scoring Summary

21′ -MNUFC Ethan Finlay (Assist Ibson)

31′ SEA Chad Marshall (Assist Lodeiro)

90+5′ SEA Clint Dempsey (PEN)


25′ – Abu Danladi  (Unsporting Behavior)

90+4 Jermaine Taylor (Handball)

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  • Michael Clark

    This is one nit I do have with the beautiful game of soccer: the PK. My understanding that the point of a foul in the box is that teams could take advantage of over-aggression on defense and decrease scoring chances. Hence the PK to discourage that. Makes perfect logic.

    But why, oh why, does an “unnatural position of an arm” (or anything NOT over aggressive / intentional) have to result in a PK. It encourages theatrical flopping and unsatisfying dramatic swings to game results that have nothing to do with the strategy and athleticism on the field.

    I truly enjoyed yesterday’s game. (Was watching in Hawaii!) However, at the end, when Dempsey scored his PK, it seemed both teams were a little embarrassed. Lackluster celebration and general blank stares all around as if someone won on a Jelly own-goal.

    This rule does need some rethinking. If anything, most referees seem to follow the correct judgement but I have seen enough game results changed on something unintentional and “unnatural” that it gets stuck in my craw.

    • Clark Starr

      The “unnatural position of the arm” thing is annoying. Handball, in my opinion, is the most awkward foul in the rule book due to that caveat and the general notion that it has to be on purpose. There are very few on purpose handballs and I have no idea how they know what is or what is not a natural arm position. On that play, one arm was against his body, he was twisting, his other arm is out for balance. I can’t really conceive of where it would be “naturally.” Now, it would take a sea-change in how refs approach calling games for them NOT to call that. I fully recognize that. Frankly, my solution with handballs would not have helped. I say you just call them overtime they happen no matter what.

      • C_A

        I can’t remember the exact year when this rule changed, but way back a handball was called only if the player intentionally played or blocked the ball with his hand(s). A shot/cross from under 3 yards was never called a handball as there was almost impossible to discern if there was intent or not enough time to move your hand away from the path of the ball. I guess that someone thought this was too confusing for refs and players alike and would give room to too many contradictions and protests during the game and after, so they made it the way it is now.

  • nomadic loon

    a good tactic would be to intentionally kick the ball at the opposing players’ hands/arms and set up for the PK…. it might be an easier way to get a goal.

    • Mike A.

      I think the handball call against Kallman that set-up the free kick which allowed Marshall Hulkout was also a bad call. Of course Fox wouldn’t show the replay of the call that created the free kick, but I don’t think that Kallman stuck his hand out there, but rather hit his arm in a natural position. Ball to hand. I also was saying that SEA’s game plan should be to just shoot at the hands.

  • Mark

    The Chad Marshall goal was interesting. Lalas on the broadcast kept saying his mark (Boxall) sliipped….but I swear when I saw it, Marshall, being the big veteran cheater goon that he is….clearly pushed Boxall just before he started his run and was wide open only because he pushed off. I wish VAR could have corrected that one.

    • Mark

      He also was involved in getting Danladi his yellow card. If you watch, Marshall jockeyed Danladi off the ball and never bothered to try to play it. A foul for obstruction should have been called but refs almost never do.