Wednesday night was a busy night for Minnesota United, who earned the chance to face Atlanta in the US Open Cup Final, as well as announcing the signing of Thomás Chacón. The night was truly electric. Perhaps it was the cutout face of Chacón on a stick that was handed out, but it was also the clutch win that was achieved.
Head coach Adrian Heath was delighted with the win. “I thought the noise in the stadium was incredible. You know, players have worked so hard recently,” Heath said after the game. The work rate from the whole team has been spectacular. “To come through again like we’ve done again is a testament to the players.”
Mason Toye scored his second game-winning US Open Cup goal, an impressive feat for such a young player. “The one thing about the kid is that he wants to be good . . . Nobody works harder at trying to be better than he does.” Toye had a spectacular night and looked happier than ever. And to add on to the emotion of a game-winning goal, it was the first professional goal he scored with his father in attendance. “It meant the world honestly . . . So this is a really special one for me, the most special I’ve had so far.”
Along with having an eleven game unbeaten streak, the team has bonded more. Toye spoke of the locker room after games, “It’s gotten more and more, you know, crazy in this locker room and a lot more dancing . . . We got DJ Lawrence, DJ Low over there. He’s always on the music. He’s a very good DJ.”
Head Coach Adrian Heath refused to look forward to the final on August 27. “We’ve got three days to prepare for Dallas . . . We’ve got to take our eyes off it. It’s so tight in the West, and then we’ll realize the final is around the corner.”
Minnesota will face a busy end of August, with five games still to be played this month. Robin Lod received his first start today, and Adrian was pleased. “I thought he was outstanding. He’s got great feet, really soft feet, [the ball] goes to him, and you never feel as though he will lose the ball.”
The Loons also added one more piece to the squad, signing eighteen-year-old Chacón from Uruguay. Manny Lagos noted they had been “following him for a couple of years now,” and Adrian noted the timing of the signing, “I think everybody connected with the club realized that if we didn’t do it now it might be too late.” Chacón is expected to be physically fit for the MLS. Manny Lagos pointed out that the Uruguayan League is exceedingly more physical than the MLS. As well as being physically adept, Manny believes he is versatile as well. “He’s like more modern-day soccer players, where he should evolve to be able to play all those three different positions [the attacking trio].”
With more success comes more challenges for the Loons. Five games in twenty-four days are sure to be a test. However, the Minnesota front office is dedicated to building a roster that competes with itself. The additions of Moimbé, Lod, and now Chacón are a testament to that. Notice that quality players such as Ibarra, Kallman, and Angelo did not even make the roster against the Timbers. More and more competition inside the squad had led to success: success that the Loons hope to carry into the US Open Cup Final against Atlanta.