After four matches, and three bad losses, to start its their inaugural MLS, Minnesota United made history on Saturday night.
On the wrong end of some lopsided defeats through the season’s first month, the Loons were the ones doing damage, battering Real Salt Lake, 4-2, at TCF Bank Stadium.
Kevin Molino continued his outstanding recent play, while Christian Ramirez scored a pair of goals to give Minnesota United fans reason to believe this season might not be the nightmare it has
The match began like far too many of the Loons matches have begun, with a defensive error to gift the opposition a goal. On Saturday, it was Francisco Calvo’s blunder that helped Luke Mulholland opened the scoring.
Rather than crumble like in past matches, the Loons rallied, scoring four unanswered goals against an RSL side that committed some awful blunders that led to the blowout.
Molino equalized in the 16th minute when he headed home a ball in front of goal, and it was Molino who helped set up the go-ahead goal when he slipped a perfect pass to Ramirez, who raced past the RSL defense for a 52nd-minute finish.
Ramirez’s second goal was much easier, and came courtesy of an uncharacteristic Rimando blunder. The U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeepers chested down a long pass and failed in his attempt to dribble out of pressure, but he lost the ball, which fell right into the path of a pressing Ramirez, who walked the ball toward an empty net before blasting it from close range.
Costa Rican international Johan Venegas sealed the deal in front of the home crowd just six minutes later, finishing off a Molino pass to make the score 4-1. A late Yura Movsisyan goal provided little consolation for an RSL side still searching for its first win of 2017.
The Loons will look to build some momentum as they travel to Texas on March 8 to take on FC Dallas. Real Salt Lake will return home and welcome new head coach Mike Petke, who will make his RSL coaching debut against Vancouver Whitecaps on the same night.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin Molino was outstanding for Trinidad and Tobago during the international break, and carried that over into MLS play, scoring a goal and setting up two more in the rout.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Nick Rimando’s howler outside the 18 yard box was the nail in the coffin as Ramirez’s walk into goal gave the Loons momentum and enough breathing room to seal the game.
MATCH TO FORGET
On a night when RSL was forced to play a patchwork defense, Rimando needed to be his usual steady self. He wasn’t, and that had to unsettle the vulnerable backline on a night Minnesota United came to play.