Minnesota United leap up Western Conference table: "They're really invested"


ATLANTA, Ga. - Minnesota United's road success continued on Saturday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against an Atlanta United team that hadn't won in four straight matches heading into Matchday 12.

A 2-1 win with goals from Kervin Arriaga and Tani Oluwaseyi meant the Loons ended the game atop the Western Conference table on 20 points (6W-2L-2D), though Real Salt Lake later overtook them with a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. Eric Ramsay's side also won their fourth game on the road, tying FC Cincinnati for the league lead in that department.

"I do think for the large majority, aside from the inevitable pressure that comes as a consequence of the atmosphere and intensity at the end, I think it was a very complete performance," Minnesota's first-year head coach said after the first meeting between the two teams since the 2019 US Open Cup Final.

Oluwaseyi does it again

Oluwaseyi's profile has risen in 2024 as the Nigerian-born forward, raised outside of Toronto, could earn himself a spot on the international team of either his birth country or his adopted homeland should his white-hot form continue.

His goal with a half-hour to go, a well-taken strike past a diving Brad Guzan, made it three games in a row he's found the net, raising his team-high total to five.

Oluwaseyi's goal-scoring has impressed Ramsay. But the youngest coach in MLS has further challenged the 23-year-old forward to affect the match in other ways.

"He's obviously got more of a role to play than just his goals, how he is in general play, his work rate off the ball, the way he presses, (and) the way he makes life very tough for the central defenders, that really contributes to the platform that we can get as a team," the former Manchester United and Wales assistant said.

Hungry for more

The Loons will have a bye during Matchday 13, but return to the pitch on May 15 as they host the LA Galaxy (8:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).

Ramsay, while noting Saturday's win in Atlanta wasn't a "particularly pretty performance," lauded his team for eventually seeing things out.

"I'm fortunate that we've got a very coachable, adaptable group of players that are very hungry to execute game plans," Ramsay said. "I think they're really invested in what we're trying to do here.

"... There is an element to coming to a place like this, with the players that they've got, and the way in which they play, and the expectations that the fans have on them, and having to be a certain version of ourselves, and we were today. And we've shown that over the last few games, and that's put us in good stead."