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Minnesota United goes unbeaten for July in MLS action

Posted on 11 August 2019 by Tesha Christensen

Minnesota United goes unbeaten for July in MLS action
By Matthew Davis
Minnesota United had its way with MLS teams in July.
The Loons (10-7-5) went 5-0-2 against MLS competition that month as the lone loss came against English Premier League squad Aston Villa in a friendly July 17 at Allianz Field in St. Paul. The unbeaten month helped the Loons stay strong in the playoff race at fifth in the Western Conference through July 27.
“It’s been an accumulation of a lot of things but mainly hard work and belief in what they’re trying to do,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said about the recent success following a July 15 win over FC Dallas, one of the biggest wins of the month.
Minnesota United entered July fresh off its biggest blowout win in the franchise’s MLS history. The Loons beat Cincinnati 7-1 June 28 behind goals from six different players. Defender Ike Opara led the Loons with two goals.
Minnesota United picked up where it left off July 3 in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes. Loons midfielder Darwin Quintero got things going with a goal in the fifth minute. Midfielders Ethan Finlay and Miguel Ibarra assisted on the goal.
Earthquakes defender Tommy Thompson evened things up late in the first half with a game-tying goal unassisted.
Minnesota United answered early in the second half with a goal by defender Michael Boxall. Loons midfielder Kevin Molino gave his team some distance from the Earthquakes with a goal in the final minutes of the game for a 3-1 lead. Opara and forward Mason Toye assisted on the score.
The Loons kept the winning streak going with two unanswered goals at Montreal July 6 in a 3-2 victory. Finlay scored on a penalty kick to tie the game 2-2, and Toye scored the game-winner off an assist from Molino. Toye and Molino also connected on the Loons’ first goal of the game.
Angelo Rodriguez made things a little more comfortable for the Loons with a hat trick against the New Mexico United in a 6-1 win July 10. The Loons forward tied the game in the 10th minute on an assist from defender Hassani Dotson. Rodriguez and company rolled from there.
“Obviously, very happy because as a forward, I always want to score goals let alone a hat trick,” Rodriguez said after the game.
He scored again in the 18th minute with an assist from midfielder Jan Gregus. Rodriguez scored this third goal in the 45th minute unassisted. Quintero and Ibarra also scored goals unassisted.
Toye had the lone goal for the Loons in a July 13 win over FC Dallas, which came in the final minutes of the game. It extended the Loons’ winning streak to five games.
Minnesota United couldn’t keep its success going against Austin Villa in a 3-0 loss July 17. The Loons returned to MLS action July 20 with a 1-1 tie at Real Salt Lake. Quintero put the Loons ahead 1-0 in the 57th minute on assists from Toye and Gregus, but Real Salt Lake rallied to tie in the 70th minute with a goal from defender Marcelo Silva.
The Loons took another tie, 0-0, against Vancouver at home July 27. Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone earned a spot on the MLS Team of the Week with his clean sheet performance, a shutout with five saves. He also helped the Loons sustain the unbeaten month with six saves against FC Dallas, seven against San Jose and four against Montreal. He needed only two saves against Real Salt Lake to preserve the 1-1 tie.
“We look at the positives (and) we have to focus on the next two months because it’s a long way to go,” Mannone said after the tie with Vancouver. “Still 12 games to go, and it’s important not to lose these kinds of games.”

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