Minnesota United visited a top-quality FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas on Saturday night. The Loons were held scoreless for the first time in MLS en route to a 2-0 defeat against the Toros.
Adrian Heath continued with his typical 4-2-3-1 this week, but there was a large change with new additions March Burch (LB) and Sam Cronin (DM) getting their first starts as Minnesota United players. Defender and former captain Vadim Demidov was left out of the matchday squad for the first time this season.
The first half hour was (blissfully) uneventful. The Loons surpassed their previous record for not conceding a goal (17 minutes), but only with the help of Bobby Shuttleworth, who once again made a diving save to keep things scoreless.
Dallas began to turn up the heat with a little less than fifteen minutes left in the half, firing several crosses into the Minnesotan box, but tidy defensive work from the back four kept things from getting out of hand. Michael Barrios beat Jerome Thiesson down the flank, but a clinical tackle from Minnesota native Brent Kallman ended the opportunity for the Toros.
The inevitable came to pass in the 43rd minute when Barrios curled in a long ball to the far post. Defender Walker Zimmerman was there to send the ball bouncing inside the goal area for Javier Morales to give FC Dallas a 1-0 lead just before halftime.
The match opened up after the break with both teams trading dangerous opportunities in the opening minutes of the second half. Christian Ramirez had a shot deflect just wide of the goal, but it was the Toros who gained from the attacking frenzy. Kellyn Acosta dished the ball from the penalty arc to an unmarked Michael Barrios who had no problem rocketing the ball into an empty net.
The remaining 40 minutes consisted largely of Johan Venegas forcing incredible saves out of FC Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez. A shot from distance by Sam Cronin forced a full extension out of the Mexican keeper, and footwork from Johan Venegas enabled him to put a curling shot from the edge of the box on frame, but Gonzalez pulled through again.
Ibson and Bashkim Kadrii were exchanged for Collen Warner and Abu Danladi, but the Loons were never able to break through the Dallas defense. Christian Ramirez was caught flat-footed with an open goal just before a wickedly curving effort from Cronin sailed above the crossbar.
Johan Venegas was taken down inches outside of the penalty area (properly ruled a free kick) in the 89th minute, but the ensuing free kick disappointingly deflected off of the wall. FC Dallas had a goal ruled offside in the 93rd minute of play when Bobby Shuttleworth let a Maximiliano Urruti shot slip through to Akindele.