For the second time in its relatively brief history, Minnesota United fans left the stadium for the last time with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Two years ago, that was after a 1-0 loss to the New York Cosmos that marked United’s last game in the NASL, and last at the National Sports Center. On Sunday, a 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy closed out the team’s two year spell at TCF Bank Stadium.
All fans wanted was to sing Wonderwall from the sunny side of the stadium one last time, a chance to bring more than 52,000 fans together for Minnesota’s greatest soccer tradition. Those fans were instead let down by the Loons one last time at TCF.
“Truthfully, [I feel] a bit ashamed for the people who came to watch us in this last game,” said forward Angelo Rodriguez, United’s lone goalscorer.
The visiting LA Galaxy needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive and certainly gave the Loons a handful. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the outspoken star who made it clear during the run-up to the game that he felt obligated to put on a show for the crowd, opened the scoring in the 30th minute.
The opener came after several opportunities for Minnesota, including a chance just 30 seconds into the match. “We had chances too that we could have put away faster and earlier in the game and we didn’t,” said winger Miguel Ibarra.
The Loons failed to come away with any goals from the first half, even as first-time soccer viewers joined the massive crowd in the M-N-UFC chant. The Galaxy struck again right out of the gate in the second half — twice — building a 3-0 lead. An Angelo Rodriguez header cut that down to a two-goal margin, but it wasn’t enough.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do still, on and off the field, but you know, I’m disappointed,” said manager Adrian Heath. “I really am. I thought that we, in our last few weeks, I thought we should have made a better fight at the games than we’ve done. And that’s a disappointment.”
Heath wasn’t the only one feeling disappointed, as thousands of fans flooded out of TCF Bank Stadium for the last time without the satisfaction of a closing win.
In the end, the Loons will head to Allianz field hoping to put the past two seasons behind them, two years of floundering on the road while struggling with consistency at home.