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Minnesota United Collapse as Fury Win 2-3

by on 18 September 2016

“First half everyone thought we were Johan Cruyff. The second half… well, we made stupid mistakes,” Carl Craig summed up his team’s performance in the post-match interview. Minnesota United had three points in their hands with six minutes left in the match, only to see them snatched away.

The Loons opened the match promisingly. In the first minute, a deflected Lance Laing cross had to be tipped over the bar by Romuald Peiser. Minnesota continued to harry the Fury with a particularly high press.

The Fury weren’t overrun, however, and had their chances. Carl Haworth’s free kick in the 8th minute drew a smart save from Sammy Ndjock.

The deadlock finally broke in the 30th minute when Ottawa’s Timbó turned a Jamie Watson shot into his own net. Speaking to our own Jeff Rueter after training, Christian Ramirez had predicted that he would score in the 30th minute. Instead, he sent a magnificently weighted ball to an on-rushing Watson down the right flank. Jamie fired in a shot that went off the Fury defender and in (as of writing it has been credited as a Watson goal).

But in a foreshadowing of the rest of the evening, the lead lasted briefly. The Fury’s Giuseppe Gentile finished coolly after Ottawa forced the Loons midfield to turn the ball over.

The Loons went into the half on top, however, after Christian Ramirez converted a penalty in the 44th minute. Ramirez had earned the penalty when he was knocked over from behind.

In the second half, Minnesota abandoned the gegenpressing of the first and allowed Ottawa to enter the match. Carl Craig also replaced Tiago Calvano, dropping Aaron Pitchkolan into the center of defense and bringing Juliano Vicentini into the midfield.

Ramirez had a perfect opportunity to double his tally in the 55th minute after Ben Speas set him free, but his shot was blocked by a defender. For some time, the match seemed even, but in the last 15 minutes, Ottawa gained a full head of steam.

The Fury finally broke through in the 84th minute. Eddie Edward sent in a hard cross that Ryan Williams headed in. Minnesota responded by throwing everyone forward to try to take back the momentum, but a turnover in the midfield resulted in Jamar Dixon sending in a cross for Danny Mwanga to head home.

After a late-match collapse to the Ottawa Fury, Carl Craig sat motionless on his bench for several minutes; the frustration amongst the players and staff was palpable.

A loss from Miami FC means that Minnesota still hold a four point lead in the playoff race (though Miami have a game in hand).

After the match, Carl Craig, Jamie Watson, and Christian Ramirez addressed the media. Watch their comments here.

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