The third time was the charm for Minnesota United as the Loons finally grabbed their first victory at Allianz Field, topping DC United 1-0.
Manager Adrian Heath deployed potentially his most interesting lineup of the season. A formational switch to a 4-3-3 saw Darwin Quintero move out wide, joined by Abu Danladi, who impressed his coaches in a midweek start. Most notably, captain Francisco Calvo was left out of the matchday squad. He was suspended for Wednesday’s game but has “irked club leaders” for his send-off against Toronto, per Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press. Minnesota native Eric Miller replaced the Costa Rican. Michael Boxall remained on the bench as Brent Kallman started as a centerback.
DC found a crack in the Loons defense a bit after the 20th minute. After a string of set pieces, a shot from distance forced Vito Mannone into a full-outreach save. He came well off his line to attempt to catch the rebound, but the ball bounced into the goal.
Just before the ensuing kickoff, a VAR review began and the goal was ultimately called back to to an offensive foul.
Slightly hampered by a first-half ankle injury, Quintero had to leave the game just five minutes into the half. He was replaced by Miguel Ibarra. Mark Watson, one of Minnesota’s assistant coaches, told Fox Sports 1 at halftime that Quintero received a cortisone shot for the injury at the break.
The VAR hammer swung the other way in the second half. A shot from Rasmus Schuller deflected off Frederic Brillant’s arm, but no handball was called. Referee Nima Saghafi received some communication from the VAR, but chose not to grant the penalty.
As the Loons’ attack continued to look strong, they finally found a goal. A cross from Romain Metanire, sent at the near post, found Angelo Rodriguez, who gave the ball the slightest of touches to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Replays seem to show that Rodriguez didn’t take a touch, but the goal officially went to him.
Immediately after, Heath began to park the bus, taking off Danladi for rookie midfielder Hassani Dotson. To fully park the bus, Ethan Finlay replaced Angelo Rodriguez, who left in some discomfort.
Minnesota is back in action next Saturday against the Seattle Sounders.