Orlando City SC 1 (Yotun pen 42’)
Minnesota United 2 (Finlay 12’, 79’)
Minnesota stayed perfect against Orlando (Adrian Heath’s former team) with a solid victory at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday evening. However, they probably should have gone behind in the early running. Both Justin Meram and Jonathan Spector had efforts in the opening ten minutes.
It was Minnesota United that took the early lead, though, through Ethan Finlay. The winger, who came into Minnesota halfway through last season, opened the scoring in the 12th minute. Orlando came back into it straight away, with both Mohamed El-Munir and Stefano Pinho missing chances, with the latter then having to go off injured. Chris Mueller came on in the first half substitution.
The Loons could have doubled their lead soon after, as Finlay was set free again, but Joe Bendik came off his line to clear the ball away in the nick of time. Finlay then committed a foul at the other end, taking Richie Laryea down in the area to give Orlando a penalty, after the Video Review confirmed it.
Yoshimar Yotun stepped up to take the penalty, and equalised from the spot with three minutes to go in the first half. With the injury to Pinho, five minutes were added on before the break. Both teams had chances in that time, but it remained 1-1 at the interval.
The first major action of the second half saw Kevin Molino go down through injury. The midfielder had to be brought off, with Collen Warner coming on to make his second substitute appearance of the season.
It has now been confirmed that Molino will need surgery on an ACL injury, and he is expected to miss the rest of the 2018 season.
Orlando then had three good chances in the space of a minute. Justin Meram had two of those, with both of those being blocked, before Scott Sutter forced a magnificent save out of Matt Lampson in the MNUFC goal.
Richie Laryea was given the game’s first yellow card by the referee for kicking the ball away after the whistle had been blown, leading to an eventual Sam Nicholson header, which went wide of the far post for the Loons.
The Scotsman had to go off through injury halfway through the second half, with Miguel Ibarra coming on in his place, also for his second substitute appearance of the season. At the same time, Tony Rocha came on for the already cautioned Riche Laryea for the hosts. The visitors made their final change with twenty minutes to go, with Mason Toye coming on for his MLS debut, replacing Christian Ramirez.
Despite the changes, Orlando continued to the be the side in the ascendency. Minnesota got crucial blocks on shots from Tony Rocha, Yoshi Yotun and Will Johnson in the space of two minutes, before going down the other end and scoring,
Ethan Finlay got his, and MNUFC’s second goal of the game in the 79th minute. He took his second well at the back stick, from a Miguel Ibarra cross. In response, RJ Allen came on for Scott Sutter as the Lions went all out to grab an equaliser.
Rasmsu Schuller and Mason Toye were both booked in the latter stages for Minnesota, with Matt Lampson also making a key save from Justin Merman’s goal bound shot. The visitors held out for victory, moving them into the playoff places (for now).
28 Matt Lampson
4 Tyrone Mears
25 Michael Boxall
5 Francisco Calvo
3 Jerome Thiesson
20 Rasmus Schuller
13 Ethan Finlay
18 Kevin Molino (26 Collen Warner – 50’)
12 Sam Nicholson (10 Miguel Ibarra – 67’)
21 Christian Ramirez (23 Mason Toye – 72’)
33 Bobby Shuttleworth
2 Carter Manley
14 Brent Kallman
17 Collin Martin
Adrian Heath’s side will be looking to keep their winning form going next weekend in their home opener. TCF Bank Stadium will play host to the Chicago Fire on Saturday evening, who will be looking to bounce back from a 4-3 defeat at home to Sporting KC yesterday.
Written by @MattJColes