Minnesota United FC opened their 2022 MLS campaign on Saturday afternoon in the first league match of the season, when they traveled to Chester, PA to face Philadelphia Union. After a bitter end to the 2021 season with a playoff loss to Portland Timbers last November the Loons looked to have a better start to this season. While they did not win their opening match, MNUFC did play as expected, even though they are dealing with a depleted roster.
Adrian Heath had to make an improvised Starting XI for the season opener as Abu Danladi, Chase Gasper, Romain Metanire and Wil Trapp are all currently dealing with injuries. A returning Luis Amarilla would lead the team up top as expected while Fragapane, Reynoso, and Lod would take their usual spots in the attacking portion of the midfield. The versitile Hassani Dotson and newly signed Kervin Arriaga would play as defensive midfielders. The back line would see Dibassy, Kallman, Boxy, and new signee Oniel Fisher take their positions in front of starting goalkeeper Tyler Miller.
here it is. our first XI of 2022. pic.twitter.com/EYxCVOY93v— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) February 26, 2022
Just two minutes in Luis Amarilla was able to drive deep into the box, getting himself a chance but was unable to get the shot off before being muscled off the ball. In the 23rd minute Michael Boxall was called for a foul, but was not carded, after elbowing Daniel Gazdag in the face, albeit unintentionally,.
Robin Lod would get the opening salvo for the Loons, scoring off a nice chip shot over Union keeper Andre Blake after a nice little back pass from Fragapane as Franco neared the back line.
what a... what a... what a... FINNISH pic.twitter.com/lWuTSTXvy1— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) February 26, 2022
Unfortunately for Minnesota after giving up five attempts at shots Philadelphia finally was able to make one count when Cory Burke scored on a header after Jakob Glesnes sent a cross into the six yard box.
From that point on the match became fairly chippy with five yellow cards being issued from the time the second goal was scored until the final whistle. Minnesota would get within inches of scoring again at two different points during the match. In the 42nd minute, Kervin Arriaga would hit the post in the midst of an MNUFC attack that would garner three big chances, but nothing sticking. Then in the 92nd minute, Adrien Hunou would get the Loons another chance after taking a through ball from Robin Lod, his wide open chance was sent over the bar on a spectacular save from Union keeper Andre Blake.
Minnesota United will take to the pitch again next Saturday, March 5th when the Loons host Nashville SC in their 2022 Home Opener. Kickoff is set for 5 PM CT at Allianz Field in St. Paul, MN and the match can be seen on The CW Twin Cities, Bally Sports North Extra, and MLS Live on ESPN+. The Loons can also be heard via radio on SKOR North (AM 1500, KSTP).