Loons beat other expansion United 3-2
Hands Atlanta first loss at Benz Stadium
Nearly seven months ago, in the coldest game in MLS history, Minnesota United made history by bringing back professional soccer to the state. Atlanta was in no mood to allow Minnesotans to celebrate the return of the beautiful game. The weather notwithstanding, the Atlanta team drubbed Minnesota United 6-1 in that historic opener.
It appeared as if the Loons would be in for a very long season, one typical of expansion teams, meaning a lot of losses, and the way things had shaped up early after getting outscored 11-2, a lot of lopsided defeats.
But somehow the Loon righted the ship and got untracked. In the following game after the disastrous home opener, they would come back to earn their first point against Colorado. None of the games after that first one would turn out so uneven (except a 4-0 defeat to Seattle in the summer), and while Minnesota didn’t amass a ton of points, they were getting beat by more normal soccer scores.
By the time the game in Atlanta rolled around, the Loons were out of the basement and had an overall record of 9-6-15 (32 points). In contrast, Atlanta sat in 3rd place of the vastly superior Eastern Conference (if they were in the West, their 51 points would top the division !)
On paper, this game again looked like it would be a mismatch.
Danladi opened the scoring with a thundering left-footed kick, a goal more impressive than the game winning goal a couple of games earlier because it came with his off foot. Then Atlanta came back to take 2-1 lead. An Atlanta player got ejected for two yellows, leaving them shorthanded for the last xx minutes.
Minnesota would capitalize on that one man advantage.
In the 85th, Minnesota United scores a goal when Christian Ramirez screens his defender and allows the ball to deflect off his shin. Hardly one of his best goals of the year, but maybe his most important.
In the 91st, Jerome Thiesson crossed into Kevin Molino, who headed it in for the game winner.
After suffering an ignominious defeat to this same team in our home opener, we come back full circle and hand Atlanta their first home loss of the year. Minnesota is languishing in the depths of the West while Atlanta is in the top of the East. No matter, this felt like a playoff win for the Loons.
This game should set up what should be a very interesting rivalry for these two teams moving forward.