Darwin Quintero laughed when he was asked if he’s noticed changes in how opposing goalkeepers defend him.
The Colombian playmaker, who joined Minnesota United as the club’s first designated player earlier this season, has been on a goal scoring tear of late, including a goal in the Loons’ 5-1 shellacking of Los Angeles Football Club.
“I noticed the goalkeeper took a few steps back when I looked at goal,” said Quintero through a translator. “But that’s soccer. They get to know you, they know what you can do and then you have to try new things game by game.”
Quintero received high praise from manager Adrian Heath, who likened him to some of the best in Major League Soccer. “For me, he’s in that Robbie Keane—who was probably the best player in the league for two or three years—Giovinco, Almirón [category]. He’s in that company,” the gaffer said.
“He is a special player and he has been huge for us,” said midfielder Rasmus Schüller.
Quintero was modest about his own success. “I’m happy for how things are going right now, what I’m experiencing,” he said. “I always try to do well, to help the team and to give my all. Now when things are going well, you have to enjoy it.”
Minnesota’s second Ibarra, Romario, earned his debut with a short appearance in the second half. Though the result was all but secure, Romario pushed forward in his chances and displayed promise of speed and aggression.
“It’s never an easy time to come on when people are tired, and people are, we’re defending so deep,” explained Heath. “He wants to come in and he’s chasing the ball. You know, he’ll be better for the fifteen, twenty minutes that he got and he’ll obviously get some work in in the next few days.”
“I think it was a very good thing,” said Romario through a translator. “The team won and won big. Thanks to God I was able to enter in the final minutes and I did well. Just hoping to be able to adapt in the best way possible in the upcoming games.”
The two Ibarras have adjacent lockers.
Striker Christian Ramirez netted two goals, marking his second consecutive game with at least a goal after a significant drought.
His celebrations tonight were understated, and he did not perform his “sitting duck” celebration in response to our tweets that ranked him as United’s fourth-best striker and referred to him as such.
Ramirez said he “thought about” using the sitting duck celebration again.
Off the Rebound
Minnesota United’s Unified Team lost 3-1 to the visiting Nebraska Unified Team in a match played on the pitch after the main match ... Rasmus Schüller scored for the first time in MLS, which “felt good” ... Alexi Gómez left the game in the first half due to an “accumulation” of an illness and a knock, according to Heath ... Maximiano went down with a leg injury late in the second half and continued, but will have an MRI scan on Monday ... After a long stretch of matches and a nine-point week, players will have Monday and Tuesday off ... Sunday’s victory marked the first time United have won three games in a row ... The match was a sellout with an attendance of 22,739