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Recap: Ábila’s lone goal is enough for MNUFC to take three points at home

A hard fought, but not easy match at all times, saw Minnesota take their first win of 2021.

May 12, 2021 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States - Minnesota United defender Michael Boxall (15) heads the ball away after a corner kick during the match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Allianz Field. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

Minnesota United took home their first points and first win of the season last night against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Minnesota’s lone goal by Ramón Ábila was all that was needed for the Loons to get three points.

Adrian Heath’s squad lined up with a nearly identical lineup for the Loons clash with the Whitcaps on Wednesday night. The lone change to the lineup game with Tyler Miller replacing Dayne St. Clair in net. This was Miller’s first start since the MLS Is Back Tournament knockout round match against Orlando City in August of 2020. The start also broke DSC’s streak of 20 consecutive starts for MNUFC.

The first half of the match saw Minnesota United dominate possession time frames, however Vancouver is the one who made the most of their opportunities. Through the first 30 minutes the Whitecaps had five shots compared to Minnesota’s lone shot. However the last 15 minutes of the half saw a complete change in form for the Loons as they rattled off seven shots while Vancouver got none.

The second half of the match was, at least on paper, a more even matchup than the first half was. Minnesota had three shots but again dominated possession intervals in the first 20 minutes of the second half. While Vancouver didn’t have as much possession they did make more of it with five shots and a few big threats to score. Scoring threats is something that MNUFC keeper Tyler Miller had to fend with all night. Making multiple incredible saves to keep the match at 0-0.

It was in the 72nd minute however when Minnesota finally opened the scoring and took only their second lead of 2020. After Robin Lod sent a beautiful ball into the box Ramón Ábila would send a crisp clean header into the corner of the net to break open the scoring.

In the final 18 minutes plus stoppage Minnesota would get another three shots while Vancouver sent another two towards Tyler Miller. Miller and the Loons defence would keep the game sealed shut to end it in a 1-0 clean sheet victory for the home side.

“Well, we changed things tactically and went back to our sort of familiar shape” said Adrian Heath on Wednesday night.

Minnesota United will return to the pitch against FC Dallas on Saturday at 7 PM. The match can be seen on Bally Sports North PLUS and The CW Twin Cities, it can also be heard on SKOR North.