Minnesota United 2 (Ibson 55’, Nicholson 66’)
Chicago Fire 1 (Collier 59’)
In their home opener, Minnesota United got the perfect start, with a win over rivals Chicago Fire at TCF Bank Stadium. Bison and Sam Nicholson got the goals, sandwiching a Fire strike, to move the Loons on to six points from their opening three matches in the 2018 campaign.
The hosts had the majority of the early play, but both sides had chances in the opening quarter of an hour.
Ibson came closest in the first half, with his half volley flying just over the Chicago crossbar, as the ball bounced back to him after a cross into the Fire box.
The same then happened at the other end, with Aleksandar Katai shooting over for the visitors.
The Minnesota midfielder then spent some time down through injury, but was able to continue on till half time, and beyond.
Nemanja Nikolic then went close at the end of the first half. The ball came into the box from the right hand side, but the Golden Boot holder’s header was saved well by Matt Lampson.
Despite the Loons being without Kevin Molino, who is out for the year with a torn ACL, Minnesota continued to be the better team going forward.
Tyrone Mears went close in the opening minutes of the second period, having been slid through by Miguel Ibarra. The full back’s effort was saved by Richard Sanchez in the Chicago goal.
Two minutes later, though, and the hosts went into the lead. Ibson got the goal, tapping home the ball after his initial header had been saved by Richard Sanchez.
However, the lead only last four minutes, as Elliot Collier equalised for the Fire. The ball fell to him on the rebound, and the rookie duly fired home for his first MLS goal.
Kevin Ellis was then shown a yellow card for the visitors, after persistent infringements. The foul given saw a free kick into the box, with Minnesota going close again.
They took the lead for a second time in the 66th minute through Sam Nicholson. The Scotsman was found at the far post by his other winger, Ethan Finlay, with Nicholson heading home into the corner to make it 2-1 to the Loons.
He could have doubled the lead soon after, but his first effort was blocked, before then firing his second attempt over in quick succession. Chicago then made two changes, bringing on Daniel Johnson and Alan Gordon, signed this week, for Aleksandar Katai and Luis Solignac.
Mason Toye came on for Christian Ramirez, and Tyrone Mears was also forced to come off through injury for Minnesota. Marc Burch came on for him, with Jerome Thiesson switching sides to play at right back.
Elliot Collier then had a chance at the back post to equalise for a second time, but his header was saved by Matt Lampson. Brent Kallman came on as an injury time substitute for Miguel Ibarra, with the Loons holding on for a vital three points at home.
28 Matt Lampson
4 Tyrone Mears (8 Marc Burch – 83’)
25 Michael Boxall
5 Francisco Calvo
3 Jerome Thiesson
20 Rasmus Schuller
13 Ethan Finlay
10 Miguel Ibarra (14 Brent Kallman – 90’)
12 Sam Nicholson
21 Christian Ramirez (23 Mason Toye – 81’)
33 Bobby Shuttleworth
16 Harrison Heath
17 Collin Martin
26 Collen Warner
With six points from their opening three games, Minnesota are rolling. The Loons travel to New York to face the Red Bulls next week, who themselves are fresh off the back of reaching the semi finals of the CCL for the first time in their history.
Written by @MattjColes