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Recap: Early goal, solid defense help Loons down Earthquakes 3-1

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Darwin Quintero, Michael Boxall and Kevin Molino found their way onto the scoresheet for United.

June 29, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath cracks a smile  at the post match press conference as Minnesota United defeated FC Cincinnati 7-1 at Allianz Field.
June 29, 2019 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath cracks a smile at the post match press conference as Minnesota United defeated FC Cincinnati 7-1 at Allianz Field.
(Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

In what Minnesota United manager Adrian Heath dubbed his side’s most important game of the year, the Loons emerged solidly victorious against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Loons manager Adrian Heath opted for a familiar lineup, making no changes from Saturday’s 7-1 win over FC Cincinnati:

Rookies Chase Gasper and Hassani Dotson started once again at left and right back after a successful showing against FC Cincy. Miguel Ibarra and Ethan Finlay made up the winger corps, with Kevin Molino on the bench.

Though the Quakes got off to the quicker start, it was United who found an early goal. Ethan Finlay crossed the ball into the box from the right wing, sending the ball behind Angelo Rodriguez but right to Darwin Quintero, who sent it toward the goal. San Jose goalkeeper Daniel Vega got a hand on the shot, which actually sent the ball up into the crossbar and down into the goal.

The first half was without much other incident, though the Loons attack found its stride again close to halftime. Quintero’s famed shiftiness was on full display while Rodriguez created great amounts space inside the box.

Dotson also had a positive performance in attack, seemingly neglected in San Jose’s game plan. He forced Vega into a diving save at the near post just before halftime.

The Quakes found an equalizer in stoppage time. A free kick from the right side of the box taken by Magnus Eriksson deflected off a United defender and luckily/unluckily fell to Tommy Thompson.

Centerback Michael Boxall gave Minnesota another lead in the 52nd minute — yes, Michael Boxall. He dribbled the ball nearly into the box, then tried to lay it off to a teammate, but it deflected back into his path for a simple finish.

United goalkeeper Vito Mannone helped keep the Loons ahead with a kicksave to deny Thompson a second.

in the 74th minute, Mason Toye replaced Rodriguez as the Loons’ striker. Ten minutes later, Lawrence Olum came on for Darwin Quintero while Miguel Ibarra departed to make room for Kevin Molino.

The Quakes pushed the pace as the second half progressed, maintaining a bulk of the possession and repeatedly testing the Loons defense and Mannone.

Kevin Molino sealed the deal for United amid seven minutes of stoppage time, placing the ball around Vega with his first touch.