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Minnesota United FC beats FC Edmonton 3-1, Controls 4th Playoff Spot in NASL

by on 16 October 2016

A temperate fall evening was met with one of Minnesota United FC’s best performances since the spring. An early goal off some miscommunication and a bad bounce from a free kick gave FC Edmonton the lead in the first half, but two goals from Christian Ramirez and a third by second half substitute Stefano Pinho gave Minnesota the 3-1 victory in front of 8,056 fans. With the win, Minnesota moves into sole possession of 4th place, although Tampa Bay and Rayo OKC both have a game in hand.

The Team

“It’s our best performance since the spring.” Carl Craig

Minnesota controlled the game from the kickoff. The 4-1-4-1 formation played to the strengths of Carl Craig’s starting XI. The steady play of Jeb Brovsky and the attack of Ben Speas gave Ibson the freedom to find the space on the pitch. JC Banks was the latest in the revolving door at left winger, and the defensive back four prevented Edmonton from having any decent looks from open play.

Minnesota needed to turn in a quality performance if they wanted to have any chance of joining FC Edmonton, Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos in the playoffs. With all of Craig’s first choice starters healthy, the team did just that.

The First Half

Even though the team played one of their best games, FC Edmonton managed to get on the board first off a rebound from a free kick. Goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock had trouble setting his wall to his liking and was late getting into position. The low, bouncy shot proved to be more than he could handle and FC Edmonton’s Watson pounced on the loose ball and buried it in the back of the net.

Minnesota redoubled their efforts and it paid off in the 24th minute when Banks’ clever through ball left Ramirez with space to shoot on an out of position FC Edmonton goalkeeper.

While Minnesota was unable to find a second goal in the first half, they continued to dominate the run of play. Would Minnesota come out and play the same high tempo attack and earn the three points?

Second Half

The start of the second half has proven to be a worrisome time for Minnesota, having let in soft goals a number of times this season. Instead, it was Minnesota United who would grab the early goal to put them in the driver’s seat towards three points.

Kevin Venegas sent a long ball through the box that a leaping Ibson one-timed to Ramirez, whose slide pushed the ball past the goalkeeper for his second goal of the day.

Minnesota wasn’t done with scoring either. Pinho came on as a second half substitute for Cruz and headed the ball in to finish the game off. FC Edmonton’s second stringers couldn’t mount much of a comeback, and Minnesota finally earned three points after a poor stretch where they only earned two points in six games.

Postgame

Game Highlights

 

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