On a beautiful spring day in the northern state of Minnesota, the Loons faced a daunting task. Their form poor as of late, could the home side find a way to have success against the top team in west, Sporting Kansas City?
In the end, neither team would be totally satisfied with the result, but Minnesota was lucky to survive 24 shots and only let in one goal.
Coach Heath has been a man of consistency this season, with the only change from the previous week being Collin Martin for Ibson. Bobby Shuttleworth was between the posts, with Francisco Calvo and Michael Boxall as his two center backs. Jérôme Thiesson and newcomer Eric Miller were out wide in the defensive back four.
The midfield pivot featured Martin with his first start of the year alongside Rasmus Schüller. On the wings were the speedy Miguel Ibarra and Alexi Gomez, with Quintero underneath forward Christian Ramirez.
Minnesota started the match with the ball and looked to attack early, but it would be Sporting Kansas City to put the first shot on goal, forcing Shuttleworth to make the save.
Minnesota would be first to put the goal in the back of the net, but Ramirez unfortunately was called offside.
Minnesota’s curse for letting in an early goal continued. In the 8’, Francisco Calvo ended up on the wrong side of Sporting forward Shelton, who headed the ball into the net on the corner kick. It’s Shelton’s first goal of the season.
— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) May 20, 2018
Minnesota continued to play aggressively, but sloppily. They tried to attack with pace, but couldn’t control the ball or find the pass into the center of the box.
In the nineteenth minute, Ibarra found room on the wing but his cross ended up in Tim Melia’s hands. Minnesota tried that side again. This time, Quintero was at the end of Ibarra’s cross. His initial header was blocked by Melia, but he put the rebound in to level the score at one a piece.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) May 20, 2018
After the equalizer, there were a couple of nervy moments, but no one for Sporting KC was at the end of the passes through Minnesota’s six yard box.
Sporting KC spent much of the first five minutes of the second half in Minnesota’s side of the field, but some resolute goalkeeping by Shuttleworth kept the score level.
By the middle of the second half, the game had opened up, much to Minnesota’s apparent chagrin, who appeared happy to slow the game down and play for the draw at home.
In the sixty-fifth, Maximiano came on for Martin, providing the team with some bulk in the middle to handle Sporting’s physical midfield. The Brazilian promptly received a yellow card.
Heath clearly expected the team to get three points out of this match with his second substitution bringing on Abu Danladi for Gomez, looking to bring on more speed to allow Minnesota to strike on the counter.
However, neither team could find the winning goal, and the teams left TCF Bank stadium with a point a piece.
— FiftyFiveOne (@FiftyFiveOne) May 20, 2018
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