Coach Adrian Heath, looking for his second win against his former side, sent out nearly the same side as the season opener. The only difference was Christian Ramirez replacing Abu Danladi, who is sidelined with an injury. The back line still featured Michael Boxall and Francisco Calvo as the center backs, and Tyrone Mears and Jerome Thiesson as the full backs.
In the center of the pitch was the pairing of Rasmus Schüller and Ibson. Above the two midfielders was Kevin Molino. Ethan Finlay and Sam Nicholson were again on the wings.
Would this same XI find success against a depleted Orlando City lineup? Orlando was missing a number of their starters, with Dom Dwyer and Dillon Powers out with an injury, and Sacha Kljestan and Pierre da Silva out with suspensions. Against a depleted lineup, this would be one of the best opportunities all season for Minnesota to manage to get three points on the road.
Minnesota came out ready to play, and would strike early. After some end to end play, Finlay put the visitors up early in the 12’ with a great finish off some nifty passing from the Minnesota attack. Ramirez had a beautiful reverse flick-over to Finlay, who laid it off to Molino.
Finlay immediately broke for goal and kept himself just onside to receive the ball back from Molino. There was nothing the Orlando keeper could do and Minnesota found themselves with a rare lead on the road.
Orlando would finally even the score in the 42nd minute after being given a penalty on review from VAR. Yoshimar Yotún got Lampson to dive early, and buried the shot in the opposite corner.
Even though they gave up the late goal, Minnesota clearly had confidence going into the break.
Minnesota seemed unprepared for the start of the half, and nearly blundered the ball into their own net. Only an aware Lampson kept a misheaded ball out of the net.
After the early miscue, Minnesota kept a good defensive shape, absorbing pressure and looking to score on the break. In the 50th minute, Molino would go down with an injury to his knee off the ball. While he would come back to the bench, he was on crutches with ice on his knee.
Minnesota shifted to a 4-3-3 after Collen Warner came on for the injured Molino. Warner moved into the defensive midfielder spot, pushing Ibson and Schüller up the field.
Minnesota would be the one to find a way through to break the stalemate. A beautiful dummy from rookie 19-year-old sub Mason Toye went wide to Miguel Ibarra. A beautiful cross went right to an open Finlay, whose sliding shot gave Minnesota the late lead.
CAN'T YOU HEAR ME KNOCKING pic.twitter.com/8ZNAvbfhPe
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 11, 2018
Minutes later, Toye almost made it three for the visitors, but was just offside.
Late in the game, Justin Meram broke in on goal and only stout goalkeeping by Lampson kept the ball out of the net. On the ensuring corner kick, Ibson saved the lead by clearing off the line in the 90th minute.
Orlando kept throwing players forward, desperate to find the net and level the game, but Minnesota somehow found a way to hold on. Toye had two more chances on goal, but his inexperience showed as he earned a yellow card for simulation and hit a weak ball right at the goalkeeper for his second chance.
The ref finally blew his whistle for full time and Heath had earned his revenge in his return to Orlando.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) March 11, 2018
FiftyFive.One is now on Patreon. Do you like the independent coverage of soccer news from Minnesota and beyond that FiftyFive.One offers? Please consider becoming a patron.