Minnesota United’s six-game winning streak looked to be in jeopardy as stoppage time approached in the Loons’ Western Conference showdown with FC Dallas. But with the game still scoreless, a composed finish from young striker Mason Toye and giant save from goalkeeper Vito Mannone brought the Loons’ streak to seven.
There were no real surprises to manager Adrian Heath’s starting lineup. The Loons set up in a 4-2-3-1 shape with rookie fullbacks — Hassani Dotson and Chase Gasper — on the right and left flanks, respectively. The positional battle of attacking midfield was evidently won by Darwin Quintero, Ethan Finlay and Kevin Molino. All-star right back Romain Metanire was not part of the matchday squad as he recovers from the African Cup of Nations.
Both sides needed a moment to settle into the game, but it developed into a well-matched, fairly intense affair as the first half progressed. Dallas held the bulk of possession and tested goalkeeper Vito Mannone on occasion, while Finlay and Molino combined for a couple of chances on the opposite end.
Dallas’ Brandon Servania received a first-half yellow card for lashing out at Molino on a breakaway. Finlay had a chance on a half-volley, but the effort bounced wide of the post.
The second half emerged even more contentious than the first. Dotson and Gasper both had two strong slide tackles right out of the gate, and both sides had moderate chances.
There was some concern for Minnesota captain Ozzie Alonso as the midfielder briefly left the game to receive treatment for an apparent shoulder injury.
A few minutes after the hour mark, Miguel Ibarra checked in for Kevin Molino on the left wing and hot streak-riding striker Mason Toye replaced Angelo Rodriguez. After taking a shot to a sensitive area and departing the field holding his shoulder Alonso’s night was over in the 72nd minute. Lawrence Olum replaced him.
United took over the driver’s seat in the final minutes, but were unable to capitalize on attacking set pieces. A Jan Gregus shot from outside the box forced Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez into a diving save. Toye was on the spot for the rebound, and poked it under the keeper for the game-winning goal, sending 19,906 fans in attendance into cheers.
Seconds away from the final whistle, a VAR review earned Dallas a penalty after Mannone impeded a Dallas attacker. The keeper saved Reto Ziegler’s effort however, earning him hugs from his teammates at the stoppage of play.
Picking up three points from the fixture, the Loons hop the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference table and move to third place.
Minnesota United hosts newly-promoted Premier League club Aston Villa in a friendly on Wednesday.