Minnesota United clinched second place in Group D Wednesday at the MLS is Back Tournament, battling the Colorado Rapids to a 2-2 draw in the nightcap at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Colorado were already eliminated after Sporting Kansas City’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake earlier in the day.
The scoring got underway in the 19th minute via Colorado striker Kei Kamara, as he slotted home at the near post for a 1-0 lead after being played through by Nicolas Benezet for what was the Rapids' 1,000th goal in MLS.
But the Rapids’ lead was short-lived, as Ethan Finlay made it 1-1 in the 36th minute with his first of two goals. The Minnesota winger flicked home a low, driven free kick from Jan Gregus, showing clever instincts.
Finlay then bagged his brace in the 43rd minute, one-timing a Romain Metanire cross home after a powerful run from the Minnesota right back. Finlay was in the right spot to convert after peeling off the Rapids’ backline with precise movement in the 18-yard box.
The back-and-forth nature continued into the 59th minute, when Jonathan Lewis made it 2-2 with a powerful half-volley following a free kick. The US men’s national team winger was quickest to a loose ball and smashed it home.
Colorado striker Diego Rubio had several golden chances to equalize before Lewis’ strike, most notably hitting the post in the 46th minute. William Yarbrough also made six saves in his second start for the Rapids, even as they depart with a 0-2-1 tournament record.
- 19' – COL – Kei Kamara | WATCH
- 36' – MIN – Ethan Finlay | WATCH
- 43' – MIN – Ethan Finlay | WATCH
- 59' – COL – Jonathan Lewis | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
When healthy and in form, opponents struggle to contain the direct threat Ethan Finlay presents. He scored his first two goals of the year, and stepped into a creator’s role with Kevin Molino out with a hamstring injury.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Although Minnesota finished second in Group D, they went undefeated through three matches (1-0-2 record). They’ve handled injuries all tournament, but have weathered the storm at each stop. As for Colorado, it was all about getting a result since they mathematically couldn’t advance before kickoff. In that respect it's mission accomplished, although head coach Robin Fraser would have preferred all three points.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Jonathan Lewis struck his equalizer so, so smooth. He’s got this super-sub role on lockdown.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Luis Amarilla made his MLS is Back Tournament debut for Minnesota after suffering an abductor injury in warmups before their first match. The striker managed four shots in 74 minutes of action as he returns to full fitness.
- COL: Out of MLS is Back Tournament
- MIN: Tuesday, July 28 vs. Columbus Crew SC (8 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada) | Round of 16