And now Minnesota United’s time has come, tonight the Loons dropped their first match of 2020 to the “hosts” of the MLS Is Back Tournament, Orlando City, by a score of 3-1. With this result MNUFC’s time in the bubble has come and gone and now we await what holds next for the team and league.
Opening up the match MNUFC could’ve almost reused their entire graphic from against San Jose Earthquakes. Minnesota came out with the exact same Starting XI and had minimal changes on the bench.
the boys pic.twitter.com/NxEJSzpLXM— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 7, 2020
The match was fairly quiet for the first 35 minutes of the night. That was until Luis Nani struck first giving Orlando City the lead.
.@luisnani and @RJANSSON24 take a bow! All class. #ORLvMIN | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/nLDUCATrUE— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) August 7, 2020
Nani would grow that lead just six minutes later, which also secured himself a brace on the night.
NANI AGAIN!!! pic.twitter.com/EEeS272nwQ— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 7, 2020
Heading into half time the Loons were very much not playing the game they wanted too. Normally Minnesota will have 30-40% possession and be counter-attacking anytime they can. Orlando was very much able to put a stop to that and really did what MNUFC had been doing. Allowing the other team to possess the ball a lot, let them waste time, keep them out of the box, and force shots from both wide and outside the box.
stats from the first 45. pic.twitter.com/rNysAOX1qb— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 7, 2020
This would change in terms of how the attack would play and how much pressure they put on Orlando after the Loons did a triple sub in the 58th minute. Kevin Molino came in for Robin Lod, Aaron Schoenfeld came in for Luis Amarilla, and Mason Toye came in for Jacori Hayes. At that point the Loons turned up the pressure trying to get the ball into a better shooting position and they used a two striker format.
After coming on, Kevin Molino would show his footwork and speed with a great set of dribbles until he was elbowed in the back.
Pardon the cruddy clip quality, but Kevin Molino is the only player on #MNUFC who can do this with the ball at his feet, and it’s so, so valuable. pic.twitter.com/VHAUzverZD— Eli Hoff (@byEliHoff) August 7, 2020
Minnesota would use their 4th of 5 subs and 2nd of 3 windows in the 71st minute having Raheem Edwards come on for Ethan Finlay. It would take another 12 minutes before Minnesota would be able to score but it did happen with Mason Toye taking a ball from Kevin Molino before slipping it past Pedro Gallese.
You've got a friend in me... @MasonToye98 pic.twitter.com/VmKMKnb5V0— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 7, 2020
Orlando would set the dagger into Minnesota in stoppage time tonight with Benji Michel getting a ball from Júnior Urso then breaking 50+ yards down the field. With no defensive help as the back line had been completely broken down Tyler Miller came to the top of the box. Michel then easily got past Miller, slipping the ball into the back of the net.
.@AlmightBenji called game. #ORLvMIN | #VamosOrlando pic.twitter.com/CcyDe4BQS0— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) August 7, 2020
The match really ended with the game not in MNUFC’s favor on the night as shown by the stats. Normally, as said before, the Loons will concede possession, keep the opponent out of the box and let them shoot from long distance as much as possible. That seemed to be more from the Loons. Defensively it wasn’t any better as MNUFC couldn’t block a single shot of Orlando’s.
While the tournament is over for our boys in Black and Blue and we don’t know where the season is or will go. I will end this on a good note.
August 7, 2020