Wonderwall! Minnesota United fans serenade Eric Ramsay after first win


Welcome to MLS, Eric Ramsay.

The youngest permanent head coach in league history (at 32 years old) began his Minnesota United FC tenure with the joy of listening to the Loons’ faithful serenade him with “Wonderwall” by Oasis - the club’s anthem sung to commemorate wins - following his team’s 2-0 victory over LAFC.

In stark contrast to a 5-1 loss in these clubs’ last meeting, which saw MNUFC part ways with Adrian Heath last season, the fans left Allianz Field with heaps of hope on Saturday night.

“It is spectacular, it really is,” Ramsay said of hearing Minnesota’s post-game anthem. “I think it’s absolutely unique. I have obviously heard an awful lot about how it feels to win a home game, and I didn’t want to make too big a deal prior to that.

“I knew it would come eventually. I was really hopeful it would come today. I felt an element of pressure for it to come today, so I am really happy that it has.”

Joining Minnesota after being a Manchester United assistant coach, Ramsay’s imprint was evident from his team’s first goal, which came from a set piece. Robin Lod stabbed home the 16th-minute opener following an attempted clearance by Jesús Murillo.

Despite the visitors' numerous attempts to get on the scoresheet, they and reigning MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi winner Dénis Bouanga were kept in check all night by Minnesota’s strong defensive unit.

Capitalizing on another mistake by LAFC, Bongokuhle Hlongwane iced the Loons’ win in the 88th minute with his second goal in as many games off the bench. Star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso, having recovered from a preseason knee injury, also subbed on around the hour mark for his 2024 season debut.

“We will be a team that will make a lot of noise in turn around set plays and their importance,” Ramsay forecasted. “ … I was really pleased in that sense because it reflected some of the work that’s been done on the pitch this week.”

Along with his experience at Manchester United, Ramsay has worked in Shrewsbury Town’s academy, with Chelsea’s U-23s and as an assistant coach for the Wales national team. He may be young, but his resumé, aided by an ability to fluently speak English, Spanish, French, and Welsh, is notable despite a lack of head coaching experience.

It’s no wonder why everyone involved with the latest head coaching hire in Minnesota had Ramsay as their first choice, a process steered by new sporting director Khaled El-Ahmad.

“He’s super energetic and brings a lot of energy to the team,” Lod said of Ramsay. “He’s here to win and you can tell it right away and he’s bringing some good structure for us for sure.”

Under Ramsay and El-Ahmad, there’s a clear vision for the club as an aggressive team – strong defensively and in transition, with the ability to control games in possession when necessary as well. For Ramsay, that means guiding the ship with a steady hand rather than rocking the boat with major changes.

“We looked organized, disciplined, difficult to break down, a threat on the counterattack, [and] showed real togetherness,” praised Ramsay. "We want to evolve toward being a team that looks like that really consistently … and I think you saw that for large portions of the game.”

Through Matchday 5, Minnesota remain atop the Western Conference with a near-perfect 10 points (3W-0L-1D). That foundation was laid forth by now-assistant Cameron Knowles while he held an interim role, so it’s all about carrying momentum forward

“I thought the whole week, it’s tough to do what most coaches would do in six weeks in four days,” center back Michael Boxall said of his new manager.

“So [Ramsay] took the basics and similar principles to Cam and a different way of applying them. It's fun to learn from different coaches and the first time he is dealing with the management side. Happy with his debut.”