A brace from Kevin Molino gave Minnesota United FC their first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs win in club history, as the Loons convincingly knocked off the visiting Colorado Rapids 3-0 Sunday night in Round One to book a spot in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Molino’s first tally came in the 22nd minute, when the attacking midfielder sent a low, left-footed shot past Rapids goalkeeper William Yarbrough. Emanuel Reynoso was fouled in the buildup, but the referee played the advantage and Minnesota capitalized for a 1-0 lead.
The Loons then made it 2-0 in the 54th minute through Robin Lod, who collected a Reynoso through ball and curled a left-footer perfectly into the far corner. Lod patiently set up Colorado’s Danny Wilson atop the 18-yard box, then made no mistake with the delicate finish.
Molino got his brace in the 79th minute, collecting a defense-splitting pass from Jan Gregus before dinking his finish over Yarbrough to put the game out of reach at 3-0. The Trinidad and Tobago international finished with five shots, as did Lod.
Colorado generated several quality chances, but couldn’t get one past Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair in their first playoff appearance since 2016. Loons’ center back Bakaye Dibassy blocked a Cole Bassett effort from close range in the 48th minute, and Gregus denied Nicolas Benezet a tap-in at the 52-minute mark with a last-ditch, goal-line tackle.
The scoreline could’ve been more lopsided, though Reynoso hit the post in the 31st minute. The Argentine No. 10 gathered Lod’s layoff, then couldn’t finish into the open net.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Minnesota hosted a home playoff game in 2019, too, but lost that one to the LA Galaxy. Now they’ve gone one step further, and it bears mentioning that the West’s No. 4 seed has accomplished all this without Ike Opara (injured), last year’s Defender of the Year, and a host of other injuries. As for Colorado, you saw a young team that didn’t quite meet the moment. It ends their 2020 campaign, which included going a month without games due to a COVID-19 outbreak before a late-season rally.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Robin Lod’s goal in the 54th minute was pure class, but the timing was even more important. Colorado had two golden opportunities in the preceding minutes, then took a gut punch by going down 2-0.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Kevin Molino is the clear-and-obvious answer here. His goals sent Minnesota on their way and then decisively clinched the win, plus he’s generating some impressive chemistry with Emanuel Reynoso.
- MIN: Tuesday, Dec. 1 or Wednesday, Dec. 2 at Sporting Kansas City (Time TBD) | Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals
- COL: End of season