Teemu Pukki! Minnesota United's marquee signing scores first MLS goal

It didn't take long for Minnesota United FC's new dynamic duo to get off the mark.

In just their first-ever start together, Emanuel Reynoso (the Loons' all-time assists leader) and Teemu Pukki (their brand-new Designated Player striker) combined for a beautiful through-ball goal to go up 2-0 at Houston Dynamo FC.

The goal is Pukki's first in Major League Soccer in just his second match after debuting in a 34-minute cameo appearance off the bench last weekend. But arguably more significant than the Wednesday evening strike is how it came about.

Reynoso – Minnesota's star playmaker who missed three-plus months at the start of the year while serving a league suspension for failing to report to preseason – gathered the ball at midfield, spun Houston's midfield and immediately found Pukki making a splitting run in on goal. Pukki, Finland's all-time leading scorer and a former Norwich City star, showed his class and composure by slotting the ball past Steve Clark before the Houston goalkeeper could truly even come off his line.

"Like I said to you guys last week, good players like playing with good players," Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath said after the 3-0 victory. "And I know that once that Rey starts to know that this guy is going to be on the move, making them little runs in behind defenders, putting little straight runs onto balls – it didn’t surprise me. [Reynoso] has made a career of this and now he’s playing with somebody who’s arguably as good as anybody with the final ball. So, it’s encouraging. It’s a start."

MNUFC's offense has been fairly anemic for much of 2023, but if their two stars can combine for more goals like this, then Heath's squad will be in a great position to surge up the tightly-packed Western Conference standings.

"I enjoy a lot to play with [Reynoso]," Pukki told the MLS360 crew in his on-field post-match interview. "We’re still in the first week, so we haven’t played that much together, but I believe I will have fun with him on the pitch. … I can’t wait for the next games to come and eventually when we have a little bit more time together I think it will be even better."