On a beautiful fall day, the fans came ready for a good game and a chance to heckle the Zlatan. One fan had a sign that said “If I wanted to watch old men play a sport I’d watch golf” while the supporters groups tweeted out a list of Swedish insults. After a dispiriting display against the Colorado Rapids the previous week, the fans were looking for something more from today’s match.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) October 21, 2018
Minnesota United FC featured a slightly tweaked lineup from their usual as of late. Bobby Shuttleworth was out of the gameday 18 with Matt Lampson starting between the posts. The defensive four had Michael Boxall and Brent Kallman in the middle and Eric Miller and Francesco Calvo along the sides.
The midfield three were Rasmus Schüller, Collen Warner, and Fernando Bob. Both Calvo and Schüller were returning from international duty. The attack featured Miguel Ibarra, Darwin Quintero, and Angelo Rodriguez.
This was a bit of surprise for observers, as the team is out of the playoff hunt and there are a number of young players on the bench including Wyatt Omsberg, Collin Martin, and Abu Danladi.
For LA Galaxy, a spot in the the playoffs was on the line, and they brought a top line up that included Ola Kamara, Ashley Cole, Sebastian Lletget, Jonathan dos Santos, and of course fan favorite Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Loons did have some fun with Zlatan while announcing the visitors.
— Eric Durkee (@durkeee) October 21, 2018
Minnesota got off to a strong start. Warner intercepted a pass and found Quintero in the box, but he couldn’t get his whole foot on it and his shot was easily caught by the Galaxy goalkeeper.
The crowd was loud in the early going. The cheers rose up when Kallman shouldered Zlatan to the ground and no foul was given.
LA Galaxy looked to create their offense through Zlatan, but had trouble as Kallman was essentially man marking him.
Instead of the big man dominating the match, it was the diminutive Quintero for the first 25 minutes creating scoring opportunities, but he couldn’t get his shot on frame.
Minnesota kept giving LA Galaxy chances to take control and finally Zlatan took it. The Loons made two great defensive stops and then promptly turned it right back to the Galaxy. On that second possession, Rolf Feltscher sent in a ball to a wide open Zlatan. The former Swedish international had an easy header into the net for the match’s first goal.
Minnesota thought they had leveled the match when Calvo streaked in on goal, but he was a step offsides and the goal was disallowed.
A late collision between Rodriguez and Bingham left the goalkeeper down on the pitch for an extended period of time, but when the whistle finally blew for the half, Minnesota still found themselves trailing.
The Galaxy came out strong in the second half, and would not be denied. Kamara beat his marker and slotted in the second goal of the match in the 50th minute. Within a minute of the restart, the visitors had struck again. This time Roman Alessandrini scored off a beauty of a pass from Zlatan.
Before six minutes had passed in the second half, Minnesota had dug themselves another hole. Quintero wasn’t going to accept another poor performance at home. He crossed a long ball into the box that found Rodriguez. Within 8 minutes of the start of the half, the complexion of the match had completely changed, with the visitors leading 3-1.
Heath made a rare early substitution after Minnesota’s goal, bringing on Romario for Warner. After bringing on Danladi for Miller 10 minutes later, Ibarra, the team’s second in scoring and assists was moved to right back.
LA Galaxy was happy to to turn the match into a chippy, foul filled affair, slowing down the momentum and keeping Minnesota from building the momentum needed to get back into the match.
Without any real chances on goal other than another Rodriguez offsides goal, Minnesota lost their final match in TCF Bank Stadium.