After a rough start to their MLS existence in 2017, Minnesota United FC looked to start off the preseason on a different note than they finished with last year with. This game taking on the host Charleston Battery kicked off the Loons first ever appearance in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
One big note was the Loons starting 8 of 11 players from their last game of 2017 when they traveled to San Jose.
The first twenty five minutes saw plenty of action and both teams trade opportunities for shots but nothing getting on goal until Charleston managed a shot in the 26th minute that Bobby Shuttleworth snagged with ease.
The action got a little heated when Charleston’s Taylor Mueller put a hard challenge on MNUFC’s Sam Cronin which resulted in a Yellow Card to Mueller. Just 3 minutes later, in the 34th minute Sam Nicholson was booked as well. In the 45th minute Michael Boxall would also after a hard tackle which also resulted in a free kick for the Battery. Just a short while later Charleston forward Ian Svantesson put in the game’s first (and only goal) in the 45th minute.
The second half saw both teams change out all 11 players on the field and saw Minnesota United move to a 4-4-2 for the remainder of the match. The Loons new XI would start the second half off hot even forcing the Charleston keeper, who hadn’t really been challenged yet, to make a diving save.
The midfield would continue having trouble pushing the ball up field to help start an attack for the Loons which wasn’t assisted at all by the wet field. In the 55th minute Patrick Okonkwo (CHS) was booked for a handball in the box. In the 76th minute Collen Warner would be booked for a hard tackle and would be booked again in the 83rd minute putting MNUFC down to 10 men for the remainder of the match. In the 90th minute Minnesota pushed an attack to try for a late goal but to no avail.
Minnesota United FC will face off against Atlanta United FC on Wednesday at 6:30PM in their second game of the Carolina Challenge Cup.