Due to a few unfortunate injuries Minnesota United had to make a few changes heading into the match. Hassani Dotson would drop to RB replacing Romain Métanire in that position, Jacori Hayes would jump in and take MF spot. While “officially” in a 4-2-3-1 the Loons lined up more in a formation that would flex between a 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 to start the match.
The Loons flexibility in formation really helped them against San Jose Earthquakes. The Quakes came out with a Man to Man style defensive coverage which Minnesota would exploit fairly easily.
How to beat #Quakes74 man-marking:— Eli Hoff (@byEliHoff) August 2, 2020
-Counter quickly (doesn’t allow time to find marks)
-Dribble (creates space by separating from markers and forces decisions from defenders to leave other marks)
-Through balls/runs (force overloads)
Example from #MNUFC: pic.twitter.com/4Hy3Jbye4J
This came into hand multiple time during the night, first being with Robin Lod opening up the scoring with goal number one of the night and goal two of his week. Shortly after that Jacori Hayes put number two in on the night giving the Loons a nice lead just early on in the match.
The second half didn’t start as Minnesota United wanted with Hayes being called (rightfully so) for a handball in the box.
Listen in on the penalty call on the Loons. pic.twitter.com/Snfp6uym8I— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 2, 2020
This gave San Jose a penalty who sent the ever dangerous Magnus Eriksson to the spot who drove it home for the Quakes putting the game at 2-1.
It wouldn’t take a long time for the Loons to gain the 3-1 lead back. MNUFC exploited San Jose’s man coverage again for a nice breakout and Amarilla would finish off the play with a goal.
This is a very on-brand counter attack from #MNUFC… basically everything the Loons want to do, with a goal at the end.— Eli Hoff (@byEliHoff) August 2, 2020
This goal could be a turning point for Amarilla, who was deservedly quite pumped-up after scoring here. #SJvMIN pic.twitter.com/wjSb0JuGg9
Minnesota would make their first two subs in the 10 minutes following with Aaron Schoenfeld coming on for Luis Amarilla in the 61st minute. Then in the 67th minute Marlon Hairston would come on to replace Jacori Hayes. The last sub window would be used to bring Raheem Edwards on to replace Robin Lod in the 78th minute.
Even with a 3-1 lead and using 3 subs Minnesota would not stop their attack. While the Loons would not have the possession advantage they did make the most of their opportunities when shooting. Their defense would also hold San Jose back and as far away from the 18 as possible, which did end up with shots on target for the Quakes but not quality ones.
Those chances kept coming and following a few shots by Schoenfeld and a corner by Gregus, Hassani Dotson would send the ball to Marlon Hairston who finished off the play for goal number four.
In the end Minnesota United would win 4-1 to send the Loons to the Semi-Finals against Adrian Heath’s old club Orlando City SC.