A tight opening 45’ with not much action would completely change in the 2nd half with the Loons coming out on top 3-1 on the back of 2 goals by Kevin Molino and the game winner by Luis Amarilla.
The first starting XI of the season saw no huge surprises with Miller in goal and Gasper, Boxall, Opara, and Métanire on the back line. Alonso and Gregus made up the back of the midfield while Lod, Molino, and Finlay made up the front. Rounding out Heath’s favored 4-2-3-1 was new strikeer Luis Amarilla up top. The biggest surprise came from the bench with Thomás Chacón not in the matchday 18 due to a “Coaches Decision”.
anddddd the first XI of 2020#MNUFC | @AllianzLife— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 2, 2020
Over the first 20’ of the match Portland dominated possession and overall control of the match as MNUFC could not seem to get out of their defensive third for longer than a few seconds. Things nearly came to a head when Tyler Miller collided with Portland’s Felipe Mora inside the box. After a VAR review it was determined no foul or penalty on what could and possibly should have been one. Overall Portland Timbers dominated the first half with near 58% in possession, 7 shots, and 4 fould compared to MNUFC’s just over 43% possession, 2 shots, and 11 fouls.
Neither side made any changes coming into the second 45’ but after being dominated in the first half it would be the Loons striking first with a goal. Ethan Finlay made a huge break down the side of the field and fired a long low pass in to Robin Lod. Portland keeper Steve Clark made a play for the ball at the top of the box but couldn’t keep a hold of it and Kevin Molino came in, took the loose ball and finished the job the Minnesota’s first goal of 2020.
Sunday Service #MNUFC | @kevinmolino10 pic.twitter.com/zHC21b8Ger— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 2, 2020
The lead wouldn’t last long though as Ike Opara couldn’t make a play on the ball earning a foul inside the box and giving the Timbers a PK. Diego Valeri would come up to the spot and easily convert the chance to knot the match back up at one a piece.
First goal of 2020. Cool as can be.#RCTID | #PORvMIN pic.twitter.com/iHS1wCQsaj— Portland Timbers (@TimbersFC) March 2, 2020
Portland would make the first sub of the night in the 69th minute with Dairon Asparilla coming in for Yimmi Chará.
Through the first 75 minutes only one sub was made and that was by Portland but that wouldn’t stop MNUFC. Luis Amarilla would score the first of his self promised 25 goals in the 76th minute to give the lead back to the Loons.
24 more to go... pic.twitter.com/T4gSWdQU8d— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 2, 2020
Just 2:07 later Molino would get a pass inside the box and bank a shot off Timbers keeper Steve Clark to break the game open 3-1.
one time for your mind, one time#MNUFC | @kevinmolino10 pic.twitter.com/QCfeWQsizP— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) March 2, 2020
After the final two goals MNUFC would use two of their three substitutions. Hassani Dotson would come in for Kevin Molino in the 81’ while Aaron Schoenfeld came in for Luis Amarilla in the 87’.