Weight off: Minnesota United FC savor first MLS victory

The fifth time proved to be the charm for Minnesota United FC.

The expansion side finally earned their first MLS win, beating Real Salt Lake, 4-2, in front of 17,728 fans in Minneapolis. For Adrian Heath’s men, it was a major relief to get in the win column.

“Everyone can maybe calm down a little bit,” Heath said. "When you look at what the owner put into the club, it was a really good day for them. It’s a weight off my shoulders. I couldn’t be happier for the players and the supporters. They deserve it.“

The match got off to a rocky start for the Loons, as Real Salt Lake’s Luke Mulholland scored in the fourth minute. In previous games, early goals had doomed Minnesota. However, this week the Loons fought back early, equalizing in the 16th minute on a Kevin Molino header.

After coming out of halftime tied 1-1, Christian Ramirez put the Loons on his back. “Superman” scored twice in the first twenty minutes of the second half, with the first goal coming off of a through-ball from Molino. He later pressured RSL’s Nick Rimando, who misplayed a bounce outside of the box and Ramirez pounced, making it 3-1. The Loons never looked back.

It was redeeming for Ramirez, who went into the game battling illness.

“I was in bed all day, didn’t really sleep last night,” the striker admitted. “Throwing up from both areas of my body…This could be my flu game or whatever. I’m trying to lay low now and get ready for next week.”

Costa Rica international Johan Venegas scored six minutes later, and Minnesota only conceded a late goal to Yura Movsisyan to lessen the goal differential. The second goal kept Heath from feeling at ease for the rest of the match.

“When they scored that second goal, it was like 'Please, God, no — not another one of these.'" Heath confessed.

"I’m pleased for the players. It’s never easy, I’ve been in their position. This has to be the beginning. We’re back in tomorrow and we have to start to prepare for Dallas and Houston.”

After coming back from international duty with Costa Rica, Francisco Calvo admitted the win was sorely needed.

“It’s fantastic to get the first win,” the captain analyzed. “If we play with this spirit and confidence and passion, we’ll get better every week.“

Minnesota will look to carry their momentum on the road, as they face Dallas and Houston in a Texas the next two weeks. They’ll need Ramirez to continue to score and rely on the likes of Molino and Venegas to keep on producing.