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Matchday Thirty: The Results Don’t Matter, But The Loons Are Still Putting On A Show At Home

by on 2 October 2018

For the second straight week at home, the Loons pulled in another three points. The club now sits with 36 points on the season, as many as they achieved last year. With four games to go, including two final matches at TCF Bank Stadium, the nightmare scenario of no year-on-year improvement will likely not come to pass. Although United could be officially eliminated from playoff contention as early as this week, they’re still fighting and still entertaining the home crowds. Cloud City is now fully wrapped, and the grass will be installed in just over two weeks. It’s been a disappointing year for the club, but games like Saturday’s remind us that it’s better to have games to look forward to than the void of the offseason.

For whatever reason, Saturday’s match really pressed home the realization that another Minnesota United season is coming to a close. It’s been a frustrating season, but also a joyous one. The club has won eleven games, including ten wonderwalls. Miguel Ibarra has come out of his shell and recorded his best season since 2014. Ibson scored a backheel nutmeg. Darwin Quintero came into our lives and chipped a bunch of goalkeepers. Matt Lampson brought kindness and support to the lives of kids fighting cancer. Collin Martin came out and was embraced by the community. There’s a lot I would change about how the season happened, and a lot that can’t be helped, but I wish it could. But there’s plenty that went right too, and the season isn’t over yet but I’m already missing it.

Miscellaneous notes

5. Ángelo Rodríguez finally scored some real goals! I thought his strike against DC was a bit of a gift, but there’s nothing I could or would do to take his brace on Saturday away. On the first, he made a sharp, last second striker’s run and headed in from close range. On the second, he was opportunistic and in the right place to poach a dreadful back-pass, slip past the keeper, and score easily on an empty net. I can’t imagine anyone had been happy with the return on the club’s second Colombian DP, and goodness knows that Saturday’s goals don’t make the Christian Ramirez trade any better. But all Rodriguez can do is his best, and as we know, it often takes time for foreign players to adjust to MLS.

Hopefully Rodriguez can net a couple more goals or provide a couple more assists in the last four games of the season, and help everyone feel a bit better about the club’s striker situation heading into 2019.

4. Miguel Ibarra was also good, but Alexi Gómez was invisible. Minnesota’s first goal came from a sensational cross by Ibarra, on par with Ethan Finlay’s delivery in week three against Chicago. Batman wasn’t always dangerous, but when the Loons were dangerous, he was involved.

In contrast, coming back from injury, Gómez struggled to influence the game. The Peruvian missed ten of twenty five passes on the night and was especially inaccurate with long cross-field switches. In contrast, his American counterpart missed just three passes of twenty four, keeping the ball in tidy combinations and making threatening runs (all against newly-called-up USMNT left back Ben Sweat).

Gómez is on loan, and his time is surely running out with the Loons. It’s hard to remember a game where he was influential in the outcome. Romario Ibarra has this spot locked down, and even the recovering Ethan Finlay and Kevin Molino are likely ahead of Gómez on the wings looking forward to next season.

3. I thought New York City’s consolation goal was offside but the referee never even went to take a look at the video monitor. That’s fine, it was a close call, and I’d rather close calls not get reviewed. But why did the Loons’ first goal, which was clearly onside, delay the game for minutes while the referee was talking to his video assistant? The whole process is not working well, and hopefully people are getting through to PRO to make sure it happens better.

2. Minnesota otherwise benefited greatly from the refereeing. The Loons have not excelled in the dark arts this season, but on Saturday they took advantage of permissive officiating and fouled their guests into oblivion. United committed twenty-one fouls to New York’s eleven. Yet only three Loons picked-up yellow cards, and one of them was to Bobby Shuttleworth for time wasting. Darwin Quintero very deliberately elbowed Anton Tinnerholm in the neck and received no penalty, despite his action being far worse than the red card that Fernando Bob received (and which was upheld!!! wtf!!!) the week before.

Of course, Collen Warner eventually was sent off, but it was wholly deserved, and on the balance of the game as a whole, it was only justice for a Minnesota team who were toeing the edge. That’s kinda fine too. You never want to go down a man, of course, but the Loons were playing an opponent who like to move the ball around, and a bit of calculated choppiness is sometimes what you need.

1. Quick hits. Go check out the live stream of the scene at Midway. The stadium is now completely wrapped, and it looks fantastic. In the past, the progress was obvious on the webcam. Now, it’s going to be harder to see, but the payoff is that the whole place will look so much more polished. You’ll be able to envision yourself there… …Why is Wyatt Omsberg on the bench??!?… …Carter Manley played fifty-six minutes for Las Vegas, and it was 0-0 when he was replaced… …It’s obvious to everyone, but the Loons have been far better with Calvo at LB and Kallman as a CB. I doubted Calvo at LB and I’m still not seeing the kind of attacking contribution I’d hope for, but I’m definitely sold on the defensive front… …Why is Wyatt Omsberg on the bench??!?… …


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