ORLANDO, Fla. — Ethan Finlay gave his head coach the perfect homecoming gift.
Finlay bagged a brace — a goal in each half — to help Minnesota United to three points in Adrian Heath’s first game in central Florida since being fired by Orlando City in 2016 with a 2-1 victory over the Lions at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday night.
Minnesota jumped on the board early when Ethan Finaly cut through a pair of Orlando City defenders to run on a through-ball from Kevin Molino, staying onside by the smallest of margins, putting him in a 1-on-1 with Joe Bendik, a battle he would win to put the Loons up 1-0 in the 12th minute.
Both teams took their time to settle into the match and find a real groove, the Loons did find themselves on the better end of the attacking threats when they were able to break down the field, dribbling through and around Orlando’s defenders but without much ado. For Orlando, a handful of corners and several free kicks in serious areas couldn’t amount to anything either.
Stefano Pinho, last week’s hero for Orlando, left the game in the 28th minute with an apparent leg injury after appearing to land awkwardly after going for a cross sent into the box by Mohamed El-Munir.
Orlando’s breakthrough into the match finally came for them in the 42nd minute when Yoshimar Yotún converted a penalty kick, sending Matt Lampson the opposite way to level the game at 1-1. The penalty decision was a late one from referee Sorin Stocia after he originally spotted a foul by Finlay on Richie Laryea just outside of the penalty area before checking with the VAR and changing
A scary moment for Minnesota early in the second half when Molino went to the ground with a non-contact injury. He was stretchered off of the field showing plenty of pain while holding his left knee, a knee he appeared to limp off of the field because of in the first half. Molino, who scored twice for Minnesota in their opening week loss to San Jose last weekend, tore his right ACL in 2015 while with Orlando City, but the good news, if there is any here, is that the injury is not related.
Stefano Pinho, last week’s hero for Orlando, also left the game in the 28th minute with an apparent leg injury after appearing to land awkwardly after going for a cross sent into the box by Mohamed El-Munir.
The Lions, which were once again without several key players like Dom Dwyer, Sacha Kljestan, and Josue Colman, struggled to get anything going in the second half, and even though they tallied doubled the amount of shots that Minnesota pumped out in the match, weren’t able to force anything on Lampson in the run of play.
This match had draw written all over it with Orlando unable to finish, but Miguel Ibarra had difference plans when he paced right past Scott Sutter and whip a cross into a wide open Finlay in the box, as he finished easily to put the Loons up 2-1 in the 79th minute, a lead they would protect through the final whistle.
Man of the Match
Ethan Finlay grabbed a pair of goals, which was everything that Minnesota United needed to steal all three points in a tough inter-conference road match.
Moment of the Match
Ibson’s goal-line clearance off a corner kick in the 90th minute saved the game for Minnesota as Orlando’s late charge came up just short thanks to a couple of key defensive stops, this play especially.
Match to Forget
Orlando’s shooters will look to put this one behind them. 19 shots in the match, but only two of them actually flew on target.