Minnesota United FC stormed past English Premier League side Everton in a friendly Wednesday night, earning a 4-0 victory at Allianz Field that was blemished by star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso exiting in the first half with an ankle injury.
- 18' – MIN – Emanuel Reynoso (PK)
- 32' – MIN – Michael Keane (OG)
- 36' – MIN – Luis Amarilla
- 77' – MIN – Abu Danladi
Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath, a top-end striker for the Toffees in the 1980s, saw his team take a 3-0 lead at the halftime whistle. A penalty kick from Reynoso, Everton own goal forced by Kemar Lawrence’s cross and a cleaned-up rebound from Luis Amarilla all contributed to a sizable advantage inside 36 minutes.
Piling on the goals, Minnesota settled the final scoreline in the 77th minute when Abu Danladi connected on a cross from new fullback Alan Benitez. The Paraguayan defender, international teammates with Amarilla, joined the club last week from Cerro Porteño.
The result was especially meaningful for Heath, who’s led MNUFC since 2017 and will soon take charge of the MLS All-Stars in the 2022 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.
“Obviously it was a big day for me because everybody knows what this football club means to me,” Heath said of Everton. “It changed my life, Everton Football Club, and it’s something that I’m really, really proud of the group of players I played with and the team I played for was probably one of the most successful we’ve ever had. It means so much to me to welcome Everton to the stadium.”
There's concern for Minnesota, though, after Reynoso exited in the first half with an apparent ankle injury. An immediate diagnosis wasn't available postgame.
"Obviously when he does the substitution signal before he's hit the ground really, you know it’s pretty bad," Heath said. "He doesn't feel as though it's as bad. We’ll have a better idea in the morning when he’s slept on it and we’ll see where we are.”
Both clubs used different lineups for each half, with Minnesota carrying a five-game unbeaten streak (4W-0L-1D) into their Saturday night visit to Houston Dynamo FC as part of MLS Week 22 (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).
Meanwhile, Everton are in preseason’s early days before their 2022-23 EPL campaign begins Aug. 6 when hosting Chelsea at Goodison Park.
“Obviously, our lads are in really good shape now but trust me, come opening day I bet they will be a lot more different than they were today,” Heath said. “You know, the most important thing for them in preseason is to get everybody fit and healthy for the opening day of the season. I’m sure that Frank [Lampard] would’ve liked to have won the game, but at the end of the day he knows that the most important thing is the opening day of the season.”
Lampard, Everton's manager, played for New York City FC from 2015-16. They narrowly avoided relegation a season ago, needing a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace to maintain top-flight status.
MNUFC’s victory marked the club’s second win over a Premier League club, the first since a 2-0 result over Swansea City in 2014.
• Minnesota United FC: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Kemar Lawrence, Bakaye Dibassy, Michael Boxall, DJ Taylor; M Joseph Rosales, Robin Lod, Franco Fragapane, Emanuel Reynoso, Bongokuhle Hlongwane; F Luis Amarilla
• Everton FC: GK Jordan Pickford; D James Tarkowski, Nathan Patterson, Michael Keane, Vitaliy Mykolenko; M Abdoulaye Doucoure, Alex Iwobi, Tom Davies; F Demarai Gray, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Anthony Gordon