On Saturday night Minnesota United hosted Portland Timbers in the Loons 14th match of the 2021 season. MNUFC headed in off a big late win over the Sounders the previous week while Portland was coming off two, one goal victories in a row.
THE boys this evening vs. @TimbersFC pic.twitter.com/1GP7JLNEKe— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) July 24, 2021
With a Starting XI looking closer to normal things did look good for MNUFC on paper. But on paper only goes so far. And just 10 minutes in Portland’s Felipe Mora slotted home the matches first goal.
Felipe Mora's forehead. Big fans. #RCTID pic.twitter.com/rYR55wh2rv— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) July 25, 2021
Adrian Heath would say about that goal after the match, “Well we spoke about it you know, [Bakaye Dibassy] had his hand up for it. We spoke about it. We showed him the goal against LA in the week. If the ball goes wide, [Felipe Mora] makes great near post runs or goes across the defender really well. Very rarely does he pull off the back post. He gets across the front, and that’s what he did. Quality goal, and by the way, it was a quality finish. But we were disappointed because I don’t think Tyler [Miller] got a save to make at that stage.”
Minnesota would throw a sustained attack at Portland the entire match, snapping up 56.1% possession, 28 shots, with 6 of those going on target. This was compared to the Timbers 8 shots with three on target.
“It was a belief and effort and energy. You know we kept going. I thought the second half we got about them a little bit more and made it a little bit more uncomfortable for them. I thought we were too safe in our play in the first half. I don’t think we worked the final third enough, don’t think we worked the goalkeeper enough. You could say that in the second half, I felt like we were going to score.” Heath said following the match.
That sustained attack would eventually pay it’s dividends with a Chase Gasper goal in the 76th minute of the match.
He’s young, scrappy and hungry.— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) July 25, 2021
And he’s not throwin' away his shot. pic.twitter.com/2ReQFLTg8q
Gasper would say post matc, “I remember the ball got knocked out and everyone stayed in the box and so I knew Hassani [Dotson] was going to play it in. He played a really good ball with his left foot. And I just jumped and got lucky and it just happened to go in. Happy I got to help the team.”
A draw is what looked to be the case for MNUFC on Saturday night, but the Loons wouldn’t let that happen. Robin Lod added on another late goal to give MNUFC yet another late late late winner.
Are You There Lod?— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) July 25, 2021
It's Me, Reynoso. pic.twitter.com/7gjBclvBWE
“Well you know me being as, not critical, but demanding as I am for him, I thought them two shots in the first half, he normally scores them training. You know, I know one of them hit the post actually but he’s a quality finisher. He really is. You know as I just said to the staff in there, when we give him opportunities, invariably, he looks like he’s going to score at the target.” said Heath.
Next up for Minnesota United is two straight road matches this week. Though it is more of two away from Allianz Field rather than typical road matches. The Loons face LAFC on Wednesday night at 9:30 PM at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. Then on Saturday night they’ll travel to Sandy, UT to face Vancouver Whitcaps at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Currently the leagues three Canadian teams (CF Montréal, Toronto FC, and the aforementioned Whitecaps) were playing out of the United States due to the border closure in place at the beginning of the season. The Whitecaps have returned to training North of the border this week but will return to BC Place on August 21st. Toronto and Montréal have already returned to their home fields at BMO Field and Stade Saputo respectively.