MINNEAPOLIS – For the first time in its MLS history, Minnesota United FC was able to seal a second-consecutive victory. The Loons comfortably dispatched an FC Dallas side that beat them 2-0 back on April 8. While the two teams have had a roller-coaster past month, Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath felt good about his attackers’ four-goal showing.
“After the first twelve minutes, I thought that every time we broke into the middle of the pitch, I honestly thought that we had a chance to score goals,” Heath told the media after the match. “Overall, I thought we deserved it.”
The Loons’ four goals were scored by a quartet of scorers, with Christian Ramirez, Miguel Ibarra, Ethan Finlay, and Abu Danladi finding the back of the net. In his usual number 10 role, Kevin Molino was able to tally an assist as well. With seven goals in their past two games, everything is clicking for the Minnesota attack.
“I’ve shown over the last couple years, more or less in the system we’re playing in now,” Ramirez said of his passing prowess, completing two assists on the night. “I’m more strictly in-between the center backs. With [Maynor] Figueroa and [Walker] Zimmerman staying deep, it created a bit of a gap for me to pop off. They were so flat-footed that they let runners go off of me pretty well, and Ethan and Miguel took it really well.”
All four goals were impressive, marking the end of quick and tidy passing sequences. For a team on their last gasps of a potential playoff berth, it was a commanding performance from a confident-looking expansion side.
“I had a chat with Adrian (after the All-Star Game),” Ibarra said, having scored his first goal since July 29. Ever since then, my teammates have said I’ve been a completely different player. I’m really happy that went in and I’m happy we got the result.”
On the other end of the field, Bobby Shuttleworth made his second penalty save in as many weeks. It’s been a major change of fortunes for the goalkeeper from Tonawanda, as he failed to stop the first six spot kicks against him. However, he credited some homework and familiarity with Mauro Diaz for today’s rejection.
“I was trying to stay patient and read his shape,” Shuttleworth reflected. “I have an idea of where he has gone in the past, I usually do research before the game.”
Finally showing some of their goal-scoring promise, Minnesota is hungry to keep momentum going. While Heath affirmed that everyone did well to earn another start, he teased a potential change of formation involving Ramirez and Danladi, who’s been playing a super-sub role as of late.
“At some stage, I want to try the pair of them together and see what we do behind the two of them. That’s something down the road. I’m really pleased with (Danladi’s) development. I think he’s getting better, working harder Monday through Friday. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he’s getting the rewards now.“