Powered by a Darwin Quintero brace, Minnesota United emerged with a 3-1 win Sunday evening over Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field. The victory vaulted the Loons up to third place in the Western Conference standings.
The battle of top-four sides in the West was settled by Quintero in the 51st minute, as the Colombian maestro rifled home at the near post to make it 2-1. Quintero collected at midfield, dribbled towards goal and nutmegged RSL center back Nedum Onuoha with his shot.
An insurance goal then came in the 83rd minute, as winger Ethan Finlay made it 3-1. The second-half substitute collected a through ball from right back Romain Metanire, then slotted past Nick Rimando with his left foot.
Finlay’s strike capped off three unanswered goals for the Loons, who first tallied via Quintero in the 20th minute. He was played in behind by Kevin Molino, only to dribble Rimando and several RSL defenders before tucking home inside the post.
While Minnesota had the bulk of quality chances, the visitors found the opener in the 17th minute. A near-post shot from Albert Rusnak snuck by Vito Mannone and made it 1-0. Minnesota’s goalkeeper was rarely threatened thereafter.
- 17' – RSL – Albert Rusnak | WATCH
- 20' – MIN – Darwin Quintero | WATCH
- 51' – MIN – Darwin Quintero | WATCH
- 83' – MIN – Ethan Finlay | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: In a jam-packed Western Conference, it’s essential that any playoff contender takes care of business at home. That’s exactly what Minnoesta did, as they leapfrogged Real Salt Lake in the standings and are now in the driver’s seat for a home playoff game at Allianz Field. Meanwhile, inconsistency continues to hamstring RSL during this stretch run, as they dropped to fourth in the West. There’s no reason for Freddy Juarez’s group to panic, but some concern is warranted.
RSL have been amazing at stopping counters all year long, but #MNUFC lit 'em up today. And I'll say it: Congrats to the Loons for making the playoffs! It's not 100% official yet, but they're definitely in.https://t.co/QG7APmpO0A— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) September 15, 2019
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There was something sweet about Ethan Finlay’s 83rd-minute strike, as you could sense a feeling of relief from the Loons’ players and supporters. The Minnesota native’s seventh goal of the year put the game out of reach. It was one heck of a finish, too.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Darwin Quintero. The Designated Player had fallen out of favor as of late, scoring just twice across the last two months. Then the Colombian playmaker turned back the clock and put in a vintage performance that was highlighted by a brace. Welcome back.