Minnesota United’s roadtrip from hell came to a close with a draw against Real Salt Lake. The bulk of the game was depressing, the end, confusing as the Loons rescued a draw at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Manager Adrian Heath deployed what may be the strangest lineup of the season. Four centerbacks made the cut. Fox Sports North’s pregame lineup graphic showed a 4-2-3-1 with Francisco Calvo as the left back and Michael Boxall on the right and Abu Danladi as the lone forward, an intriguing lineup that no one really understood.
The odd formation seemed to be working for Minnesota, at least initially. The attack put some speed on display and the defense was not horrible, but Damir Kreilach found some space at the top of United’s box and beat Bobby Shuttleworth with a low shot to his right post.
Abu Danladi pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Rasmus Schuller, kinda. Schuller slotted in at left wing and Romario Ibarra moved up to striker, making weird even weirder.
The slog continued without much action or desire from the Loons, and the performance was epitomized by a play around the 70th minute. Darwin Quintero aimed a low shot inside the far post but Miguel Ibarra came crashing in and deflected it out the way it came.
United wasn’t down for the count though. Quintero slipped the ball to Ibarra in the 84th minute and Batman looped the ball just over a diving Nick Rimando to level the score.
Late drama ensued just moments later. Quintero sent a bicycle kick to Ibarra, who scored again, what should have been the winner. But a long VAR review led to a bemusing offside call that was neither clear nor obvious in the run-up to the play.
Manager Adrian Heath said on the Fox Sports North broadcast that he had to talk to the team about “attitudes” at halftime.