After exactly 21 days in between league matches Minnesota United returned to MLS play this afternoon against Cincinnati and it was a doozy. The last three MLS matches for the Loons saw them lose 3-0 in Atlanta, 3-2 at home against Philadelphia, and 1-0 in Colorado three weeks ago. A three match losing streak is not what any club wants especially heading into a break.
During the break however the Loons turned things around with a spectacular 4-1 home win over Sporting Kansas City and a 3-2 come from behind road win in Houston in the US Open Cup. They also traveled to Madison, WI to take on USL League One and MNUFC affiliate club Forward Madison last Tuesday. That match also ended with a 2-1 victory over the hosts.
With three victories in a row throughout all matches the remaining item on the list was an MLS league victory. It happened in the most spectacular fashion with a 7-1 drubbing. Ike Opara led the club with a brace and Mason Toye also notched his first MLS goal of his career. Jan Gregus had three assists on the night and Kevin Molino also returned to the team and scored a late goal.
“Goals change games in football matches” manager Adrian Heath stated. “I’m pleased for everybody, I think it’s the biggest win in franchise history, so I’m pleased with that.”
Mason Toye was elated at being able to score his first MLS goal “It felt great, being able to score in the last three games gave me a lot of confidence.” Toye stated. “I was feeling like if I got any type of chance today I was gonna put it in the goal.” “Once I scored it just felt really good and I just wanted to celebrate and enjoy it.”
With two league matches approaching in the next week Minnesota will already have momentum going their way but confidence will be necessary with their next two matches against San Jose and Montreal, both of whom are above the Loons in the table.
“I think us winning in the Open Cup, especially that game in Houston gave us some confidence as well” said Ike Opara “Never take your foot off the gas, especially when you give up one goal, it could lead to more.” He said about the 4-0 halftime lead.
Hasanni Dotson noted that his goal today was a memorable one. “I think my first goal was more difficult, I like this one more, I had my girlfriend and her brother in the stands, this one is more memorable.”
“I feel for them, I know what it’s like.” Heath said about FC Cincinnati and their struggles of moving up to MLS from USL. “I think there’s this misconception that expansion teams (that) it’s very easy, because everybody compares everybody with Atlanta.”