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Late Night Hotdish: Instant takes from Minnesota’s loss to Portland

My thoughts on Quintero, Lampson, Ramirez, and more from Saturday night’s defeat.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Minnesota United FC Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

I hate West Coast kickoff times. Please don’t judge my writing—it’s very nearly Sunday morning.

This match reminded me an awful lot of Minnesota United’s also 3-2 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes in the season opener. The storylines run a very close parallel: defensive lapses, mostly decent moments, and a failed rally late in the match.

The Portland Timbers were a very beatable team tonight though. It just came down to the fact that Minnesota was more beatable.

I hate to fault goalkeepers too much for goals because there are so many times where they’re left without a great chance to stop the ball. But Matt Lampson should’ve been better tonight, especially on Powell’s goal to start things for the Timbers. Getting beat to the near post is embarassing for goalkeeping. Protecting that side of the goal comes down to positioning and shutting down an angle.

Lampson was off of his game tonight, that’s for sure. While I do want to see Bobby Shuttleworth get a shot in goal, I do understand why he wasn’t brought in tonight. It’s hard to switch out a goalkeeper midgame, plus that’s a huge vote of no confidence for the starter.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Let me just say: Darwin Quintero is the real deal. He was only supposed to go 60 minutes tonight, but worked his butt off for the full 90. His goal was well-earned and he was a consistent threat.

I found it interesting that he played more as a second striker than a true number 10. I like to see a two-striker look from MNUFC, and we’ll be seeing something resembling that more often now.

I, and plenty of other people on Twitter, was unimpressed by the Loons’ set piece routines tonight. There were multiple times where the ball was loose in Portland’s box, but nobody was ready to pounce on it. In a game where offense comes down to converting chances, those go down as missed opportunities.

Christian Ramirez still has not figured his game out yet this season. He was better tonight, probably because of Quintero’s energy and production, but still not the striker he was last year. I don’t know how much longer he has in the starting eleven before Abu Danladi takes over.

Next week’s match is going to be in another hostile enivronment, but I think it will suit the Loons a little bit more. CenturyLink will feel a bit more like TCF Bank Stadium, and the Loons fared pretty well when they last were in a packed football stadium, beating Atlanta United at home. Right now, I’m feeling a draw with the Seattle Sounders.