Minnesota United began the game with an eye towards testing FC Dallas goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck, getting his first MLS start in place of the injured Jimmy Maurer. In the first 10 minutes, Minnesota threw a lot of weight into the attack with midfielder Jan Gregus having an early go in the third minute and midfielder Emanuel Reynoso working to get a free kick in a dangerous spot just outside the box in the seventh.
The Loons would not have to wait long for their hard work to pay off. In the 11th minute, FC Dallas defender Ryan Hollingshead sent square ball across the field that midfielder Robin Lod chopped down before controlling it and surveying his options. He sent it ahead to forward Mason Toye, who put on a burst of speed before finishing with his left between Zobeck’s legs to open the scoring and put MNUFC on top 1-0.
Minnesota did not let up, with Reynoso and Lod both launching optimistic shots over the next several minutes. With Dallas chasing the game, the Loons seemed to settle in and get comfortable, finding plenty of space between the lines and time to make things happen. In the 28th minute, the home side put together as pretty a string of possession as they have this season. Starting from the right wing, Lod cut inside and found Reynoso loitering on the edge of the box. The Argentine tapped it back out wide to defender Romain Metanire on the overlap, who sent it in to a waiting Kevin Molino. Molino hammered the cross one-time into the back of the net to double Minnesota’s advantage to 2-0.
Through the second goal, MNUFC could boast nearly 65% of the possession, a distinct departure from recent positive results where the team has struck mostly on the counter and played without the ball. But here at Allianz Field, the Loons showed both consistency and creativity in possession, due in no small part to the work of Molino, Reynoso and Lod in the attacking midfield.
As the first half wore on, however, FC Dallas found their footing and MNUFC began to loosen up a bit. As a result, more opportunities came the visitors’ way and in the 42nd minute, defender Bryan Reynolds crossed it on the ground from the right wing, finding forward Ricardo Pepi in front of the face of goal. Pepi got tangled up with defender Jose Aja but as he went to ground, sent it past the outstretched hand of Dayne St. Clair to snatch one back for Dallas just before the teams headed for the locker rooms 2-1.
Things got a little chippy at the start of the second half as Dallas decided that their best shot to get back into the game was to get physical with MNUFC. Chase Gasper was awarded a yellow card in the 47th minute after Reynoso got bodied without a whistle, forcing him to put down the FC Dallas attack. Five minutes later, the Loons nearly pulled ahead twice in short succession as Molino did his best to finesse a left-footed shot past Zobeck that the keeper speared away and then Reynoso found Gregus on the near post on a corner kick. The Slovak header the ball onto the far post but Zobeck was there, once again.
After several shots went begging over the crossbar or into the woodwork, MNUFC finally got its third goal from the penalty spot after Lod played Metanire through into the box and the defender was taken down from behind. Molino stepped up and hit the ball straight down the middle as Zobeck guessed right, giving the Trinbagonian a brace on the evening.
The visitors were not prepared to go gentle into that good night, though. Off a corner kick in the 77th minute, sub Santiago Mosquera put in a shot that St. Clair tried to parry with one hand, but he couldn’t keep the entire ball from going over the line tonight, and Dallas was awarded the goal, pulling them within a goal at 3-2.
For the next several minutes, Minnesota did their best to put the game away, continuing their effective movement and passing in and around the box, but they couldn’t put the final ball together before Romain Metanire was shown a red card in the 82nd minute for challenging defender Bressan on the wing. Reduced to 10 men, Minnesota fell back into a low block defensively, replacing Kevin Molino with defender Bakaye Dibassy for his first MLS minutes. The Loons fell into a five-man backline and weather the storm of Dallas shots down the stretch and through five minutes of stoppage time to hold onto the lead and earn all three points with a final score of 3-2.
BELL BANK MAN OF THE MATCH: Midfielder Kevin Molino
- 11’ | Robin Lod knocks down the square pass from Dallas and controls it before sending it ahead to Mason Toye, who puts on a burst of speed and finishes with his left between Zobeck’s legs. 1-0
- 28’ | That goal was a thing of beauty forever. Lod -> Reynoso -> Metanire -> Molino. Lod cuts it inside from the right wing and finds Reynoso loitering on the edge of the box. He taps it back out wide to Metanire who is wide open and sends it in to Molino who drills it one-time into the back of the net. 2-0
- 42’ | Dallas works it around the box and Bryan Reynolds crosses it on the ground into the six-yard box. Pepi is there and gets tangled up with Aja but as he goes to ground, sends it in past the outstretched mitt of St. Clair. 2-1
- 70’ | Molino goes right down the middle with the penalty kick as Zobeck guesses right and doubles the lead to 3-1.
- 77’ | Mosquera is awarded the goal after Dayne tried to keep it out but maybe let it go over the line this time for real. Assisted by Bressan and Andres Ricaurte. 3-2