Danladi took a while to come into his own in his rookie season. But when he made his mark, he did it with a bang. Actually, two bangs. His first absolute screamer was against Montreal and sealed Minnesota’s second win on the road. I’m not sure if “posterization” is a thing in soccer as it is basketball, but if it is Danladi totally “posterized” Laurent Ciman.
His second goal kickstarted an away win against fellow expansion side Atlanta United. This goal was basically a mirror image of his goal against Montreal. This time his victim was Michael Parkhurst.
You never forget your first. And it was pretty fitting that Christian Ramirez scored Minnesota’s first MLS goal. A curler from outside the box to bring the Loons within one. Sure, it all went to hell shortly after that, but at that moment it was pure bliss.
Bobby Shuttleworth was Minnesota’s third-string at the beginning of the season; let that sink in. Shuttleworth made plenty of impressive saves throughout the season, but none more so than his penalty saves in back-to-back games. First in Montreal, with Minnesota down 1-0 early Bobby came up big against Ignacio Piatti.
Holding onto a one-goal lead at home against FC Dallas, Shuttleworth once again stood tall and denied Mauro Díaz. Minnesota continued to put the game to bed with goals from Ethan Finlay and Danladi. In both of these games, the penalty saves were catalysts that drove Minnesota to victory.
In the first half of the FC Dallas game, Batman and Superman linked up for one of the prettiest goals of the season. Ramirez lobbed a through ball that met a streaking Ibarra. Batman then volleyed the ball past a flailing Jesse Gonzalez for what turned out to be a game-winning goal.
Don’t let the monotonous call from Atlanta play-by-play announcer Alan Green fool you, a 95th-minute game-winning goal is a big deal. Atlanta was down to 10 men for most of the second half, and yet Minnesota had let two goals in while a man up. Ramirez scored the equalizer off of a corner in the 89th minute and the Loons were hungry for more.
In the 95th minute, Jerry Thiesson whistled a cross into the crowded box. Molino rose above the rest and gave the Loons a win over their expansion rivals. This was a cathartic win. This was redemption. This win showed just how far Minnesota had come since the 6-1 drubbing in the “Snowpener”.
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