Minnesota United Stuns Montreal Impact with Last Gasp Winner

by on 18 September 2017

It wasn’t quite a smash-and-grab, but Montreal Impact may have felt the wind leave its lungs as the Loons struck in the last minute of regulation to win on Saturday night. The Impact took the lead twice, but Minnesota responded each time and added the game winner for the cherry on top. Abu Danladi’s 89th-minute strike gave the Loons all three points and put a serious dent in the Impact’s playoff hopes.

Starting lineups

The midweek drubbing in Vancouver forced a total of five changes to the lineup against Montreal. Christian Ramirez and Marc Burch both made their first starts after injuries, Kevin Molino returned after an illness made him a late scratch in Vancouver, Collin Martin stepped in for Collen Warner, and Miguel Ibarra was picked over Sam Nicholson.

First half

After conceding inside the first five minutes in their last two matches, the Loons once again failed to come out of the blocks. It took the Impact nine minutes to break through the Loons offense.

Swiss midfielder, Blerim Džemaili cut through the Loons defense too easily with a give-and-go, putting the ball back to Ignacio Piatti. An unlucky bounce found the ball at Patrice Bernier’s feet that he quickly dispatched into the net.

The Loon’s poor start only continued minutes later when Jérôme Thiesson conceded a penalty from a handball in the box. After video review, referee Ted Unkel called the penalty and Piatti stepped up to take it. In what would become perhaps the most pivotal moment in the match, Bobby Shuttleworth made a tremendous save that would keep Minnesota within just one point of Montreal.

After the save, the Loons stepped up to the challenge and started to put together a cohesive attack. That attack led to a penalty of their own as Ibson chipped a ball into the arm of a Montreal defender. This time, Unkel quickly pointed to the spot, where Molino stepped up to score in the 20th minute.

For the rest of the half, Minnesota continued to impress, but failed to make possession count. Francisco Calvo had a chance to put the Loons ahead with a header from a set piece, but Evan Bush rose to catch his shot. Montreal had its own chances, too, as the game largely dispatched with the need for a midfield and became end-to-end.

Second half

In the second half, the Impact came out of the gates and again put the Loons on the back foot. The Loons held on for dear life, but were eventually broken open by a magnificent strike from Džemaili. The ball was headed down for Džemaili and, in a falling motion, the midfielder hit it on the half-volley, sending it careening into the net.

Going down a second time yet again woke up the Loons as they evened up the match five minutes later. Ibson lofted the ball up to the back post where Calvo and Ramirez were waiting. The cross evaded Calvo and found an unmarked Ramirez, who easily headed the ball into the goal. His goal-scoring celebration included a pregnancy announcement as he grabbed a ball and put it under his shirt in the universal “pregnant lady” signal (after the match he confirmed that this was a gesture to his pregnant wife, Valerie).

After the match evened at two points a piece, the two teams settled into their own rhythms. Everything seemed headed for a draw when substitute Abu Danladi shocked the Montreal crowd with a game winner.

In the 89th minute, Danladi took the ball at the top of the box and looked to pass in Ethan Finlay, who made a run into the box. Finlay’s run, however, opened up space for Danladi who decided to make his own run before sending a right bastard of a shot into the upper 90 at the back post.

The game ended with a dust-up as Impact defender Victor Cabrera came after Molino. Both teams became embroiled in the melee, but Cabrera was restrained and only given a yellow card.

Scoring summary

MTL – 9′ Bernier (assist Džemaili)
MIN – 20′  Molino (PK)
MTL – 55′ Džemaili (assist Salazar)
MIN – 60′ Ramirez (assist Ibson)
MIN – 89′ Danladi (assist Finlay)


MIN – 2′ Martin (unsporting behavior)
MTL – 53′ Džemaili (dissent)
MTL – 62′ Piette (unsporting behavior)
MTL – 90’+3′ Cabrera (unsporting behavior)

Match ratings

Three stars

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