Molino magnificent but Loons lose opener

San Jose Earthquakes 3 – Hoesen (27’, 59’), Qazaishvili (28’)

Minnesota United 2 – Molino (81’, 85’)

The first twenty minutes of the Loons 2018 campaign were good, holding San Jose scoreless, and playing some decent football. However, it all changed in the blink of an eye, as the Quakes scored two goals in two minutes to lead by two after thirty minutes.

Danny Hoesen, who had earlier shot just wide of the far post, opened the scoring for the hosts. He was set up by Valeri “Vako” Qazaishvili, whose ball ran across the striker, with Hoesen burying a first time shot into the corner, past Matt Lampson in the Minnesota goal. Within seventy seconds, Lampson was beaten again. Francisco Calvo made a defensive error, giving Chris Wondolowski space to cross the ball from the right. Hoesen missed it at the front post, but Qazaishvili was there to score the second.

Immediately, Christian Ramirez came on for Abu Danladi as the Loons looked to get one back before the interval. However, the momentum remained in San Jose’s favour, and it could have been three before the break. Magnus Eriksson’s corner was deflected onto the post by Yefferson Quintana. Minnesota came back into the half towards the end, but it remained 2-0 at the break.

The man who almost made it three had to be replaced through injury early into the second half. Yefferson Quintana was replaced by Jimmy Ockford, just eight minutes after the break. On the hour mark, Danny Hoesen got his second of the game to make it 3-0 to the Quakes.

The Dutchman played a lovely one-two with Valeri Qaizaishvili to get past Francisco Calvo, before taking his touch past Jerome Thiesson and firing the ball into the far corner, with Matt Lampson left helpless again.

From there, Minnesota started to attack more, knowing they needed nothing short of a miracle to gain a point in their first game of 2018. Miguel Ibarra and Collen Warner came on for Ethan Finlay and Ibson, and almost immediately, the Loons had one back.

Kevin Molino got the goal to make it 3-1. Jerome Thiesson’s ball in was laid off by Christian Ramirez, with Molino nicking the ball past Shea Salinas, and slotting home past Andrew Tarbell in the Quakes’ goal. San Jose made a change in midfield after that, with Tommy Thompson coming on for Magnus Eriksson.

Just four minutes later, though, and Minnesota had another goal back, and again it was Kevin Molino with the strike. Rasmus Schuller slid the ball into the attacking midfielder, who turned and curled one into the far corner from outside the area to double his tally on the night.

Fatai Alashe came on for the outstanding Valeri Qazaishvili, who had two assists and a goal on the night for the Quakes, with two minutes to go. The hosts held on for victory in a wonderful game for the neutral to watch. It finished 3-2 in San Jose, with the Quakes taking all three points.

 

Minnesota Team:

28 Matt Lampson

4 Tyrone Mears

25 Michael Boxall

5 Francisco Calvo

3 Jerome Thiesson

7 Ibson – (26 Collen Warner – 79’)

20 Rasmus Schuller

13 Ethan Finlay – (10 Miguel Ibarra – 75’)

18 Kevin Molino

12 Sam Nicholson

9 Abu Danladi – (21 Christian Ramirez – 29’)

 

Unused Subs:

33 Bobby Shuttleworth

2 Carter Manley

14 Brent Kallman

17 Collin Martin

Minnesota’s next game is on Saturday evening at Orlando City Stadium in Florida. The Loons will take on an Orlando City side, who drew with DC United at home in their season opener. Adrian Heath’s team will be looking to bounce back from this defeat with a win on the road to get the 2018 season kickstarted for his side.

 

Written by Matt Coles (@MattJColes)

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