Adrian Heath. Photo by Dan Mick.

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Minnesota United FC Beats FC Cincinnati in Penalties in U.S. Open Cup Action

by on 6 June 2018

It seems odd to say that a win in penalty kicks after a nil-nil draw seemed preordained, but Minnesota United played a composed match away to FC Cincinatti. Bobby Shuttleworth had two saves during the penalty kicks to give Minnesota the win as they move on to the round of 16 in the 2018 US Open Cup.

Lineup

Minnesota only changed their midfield, leaving the back four untouched from the 4-1 drubbing in Sporting Kansas City. Michael Boxall and Brent Kallman were in the center of the back four, with Tyrone Mears and Eric Miller out wide. Miller would have to leave the match early and was replaced by rookie Carter Manley.

In the midfield, the Brazilian Maximiano and Collen Warner were charged with the double pivot, while Colin Martin played further up field. Abu Danladi and Miguel Ibarra typically played out wide, while Christian Ramirez was the lone striker up top.

With the lineup, Coach Adrian Heath made it clear that they should win this match.

The match

Minnesota United made it clear that they wanted to stretch FC Cincinnati, utilizing the speed of Ibarra and Danladi to get behind their defense and create goals. FC Cincinnati was happy to play very defensively, and rarely committed themselves to an attack, instead looking for an opportunity on the break.

The two teams were stuck in a stalemate for much of the first half due to these opposing tactics. Cincinnati allowed Minnesota the lion’s share of the possession, but Minnesota in turn couldn’t create any real chances on goal.

The second half was more of the same, although FC Cincinnati was willing to stretch the match a bit more at times. Minnesota played cooly and collected, never allowing FC Cincinnati to dictate the pace of the match. Still, with better finishing, the home side might have found the back of the net.

Both teams came to rely on their goalkeepers, with both Bobby Shuttleworth and Spencer Richey keeping their respective clean sheets with some solid goalkeeping, forcing the game to extra time.

While there was a penalty shout for Minnesota in the 110’ as Ramirez was nudged to the ground by Israeli international Dekel Keinan, the game seemed destined to go to penalties.

In penalties, Ramirez started things off well for Minnesota, beating Richey to his left before Kenney Walker hit the crossbar with his first shot for FC Cincinnati. Two saves by Shuttleworth on Sem de Wit and Nazmi Albadawi and goals by Brent Kallman and Collin Martin ensured the victory for the visitors.

For the first time since 2016, Minnesota would be advancing in the U.S. Open Cup and will find out who they face in the next round on June 7th.


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