The Loons are full of surprises these days.
Abu Danladi opened his account in his first MLS start, Miguel Ibarra had two assists and Minnesota United FC cruised to a 2-0 shutout win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday in the first chapter of a new regional rivalry.
Bobby Shuttleworth added seven big saves and Christian Ramirez netted his sixth goal of the season — one off the MLS Golden Boot lead — as Minnesota (3-5-2) continued their charge up the Western Conference table following a dreadful 0-3-1 start.
NO JOKE: After the first month, it looked like it was going to be a very long expansion season for Minnesota, which gave up five goals or more in three of their first four games. But the Loons have turned it around since then and earned their most convincing shutout yet with the backline staying organized against a dangerous SKC attack and Shuttleworth fighting through a broken nose to come through with some huge stops. And their offense looked as dangerous as ever with Ramirez, Ibarra and Danladi teaming up beautifully to give Minnesota a 2-0 first-half lead they would not relinquish.
EXPLOITING THE FLANK: Much of Minnesota’s offensive success came down the left side as the Loons torched SKC’s Igor Juliao, who started at right back in what was his first appearance for SKC since 2014. Kevin Ellis also made his 2017 debut for SKC as head coach Peter Vermes tinkered with the lineup at the end of a brutal stretch. And while putting Graham Zusi back in for Juliao at halftime helped stop the bleeding, it wasn’t enough for SKC to escape Minnesota with points.
DOM VOYAGE: Sporting KC star striker Dom Dwyer came into the contest with five goals in his last five games but was held in check for most of the day and missed a couple of late chances. Even worse for SKC fans, Dwyer’s yellow card for a tackle on Sam Cronin will trigger a one-game suspension that will force him to miss their next game, barring a successful appeal.
They Said It
"You have to take us seriously. Because if you don’t, we have too much talent not to hurt you." — Adrian Heath, Minnesota United head coach