Could Darwin Quintero lift Minnesota United to the US Open Cup final?

Darwin Quintero – Minnesota United – celebration

BLAINE, Minn. – Minnesota United midfielder Darwin Quintero was suspended last weekend due to yellow-card accumulation, missing out on a crucial Western Conference clash against the Portland Timbers.

While frustrating for Quintero, it could have been a blessing in disguise, as the Designated Player will now have fresh legs for Wednesday night’s (8 pm ET | ESPN+) U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the Timbers.

“Everybody knows what he’s capable of, and especially in the Open Cup he’s been very, very dangerous,” Minnesota defender Michael Boxall said. “He’s really, really come alive in the Open Cup, and we expect the same out of him. With the combination of him and a few other players who have come into form, our front four are going to cause a lot of problems.”

Quintero has 18 goals and 20 assists since coming to MLS in March, 2018 from Club America in Liga MX. He could be the difference-maker the Loons need.

“Big players show up in big moments, they bring their ‘A’ game,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. “We certainly know we’re going to need him tomorrow. We’ve given ourselves a huge opportunity. All we can do is to go and try to win the game tomorrow.”

Quintero has featured in every Open Cup match for the Loons this season, tallying five goals and an assist throughout the competition. 

“Obviously, he’s one of the best players in the league,” striker Mason Toye said. “We don’t call him the scientist for nothing. He’s got really, really good vision, and I just know that if I put runs on, if I’m in the right spots, he’ll find me.”

Portland has several difference-makers as well, with Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco and Brian Fernandez all capable of turning a match on its head. 

So in Wednesday’s rematch – Minnesosta won 1-0 over the weekend – any could take centerstage. 

“I think that the weekend showed that players like Blanco and Fernandez, big players show up in big games,” Heath said.

If Quintero wins out, though, the Loons would find themselves in their first-ever Open Cup final and be one game away from a Concacaf Champions League berth.