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Minnesota United pulls out 2-1 win at Nashville

The Loons dealt with a steady stream of pressure, but made the most of their few opportunities to take all three points on the road.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Nashville SC
Minnesota United FC defender Michael Boxall celebrates after a win against the Nashville SC on Sunday at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tenn.
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports
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Minnesota United rode its luck Sunday and was able to pull out a 2-1 win over Nashville SC at GEODIS Park.

The Loons dealt with a steady stream of pressure, but made the most of their few opportunities to take all three points on the road.

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Without him, the Loons are clinging to one of the final playoff spots with two games remaining.
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With Minnesota’s playoff positioning slipping in three straight scoreless losses, a goal and a point will be precious. But they lost points from a winning position at home.
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After a slow start, the Loons ascended to be one of the league’s best through late August, netting 26 out of the next 33 points during that stretch.
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Reynoso, who has a team-high 10 goals, tweaked his right ankle before halftime of last Saturday’s 3-0 loss to FC Dallas.
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Matt Navratil, a 26-year-old from Burnsville, Minnesota, is a diehard Loons fan and a season-ticket holder who travels with his parents, Scott and Chris, to a few road games each season.
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One of Dayne St. Clair’s first soccer memories is from roughly 20 years ago with him juggling a plastic balloon at his grandmother’s home in the Toronto area. The young Canadian wasn’t yet good enough with his feet to keep a heavier soccer ball aloft; he needed an inflatable orb that would hang in the air a bit longer.
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After signing a 2½-year contract with MNUFC through the 2024 season, with a club option for 2025, the 28-year-old Paraguayan has played in three games — an international friendly versus Everton, plus coming off the bench in two MLS games, wins over Houston and Portland.
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Minnesota United is 6-2-0 this season when he has a goal or assist, including four wins amid their current six-game unbeaten streak.
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Miller began the 2022 season as the Loons’ starter, allowing one goal apiece in a pair 1-1 draws into early March, but the 29-year-old New Jersey native fell ill before the third match and hasn’t played in MLS in nearly five months.

Minnesota (10-9-5, 35 points) bounced back from a 4-3 loss to Colorado last week and didn’t let hosting the MLS All-Star Game be a distraction.

Nashville (8-8-9, 33 points) suffered consecutive home losses for the first time in MLS.

Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, the MVP of the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, made seven saves to keep Minnesota alive.

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Loons right back Alan Benitez was struggling defensively Sunday, but earned some redemption with the winning goal in the 75th minute. A week after his first MLS assist, the Paraguayan notched his first league goal.

Franco Fragapane had put MNUFC up 1-0 with a left-footed finish in the 27th minute. The Loons pounced on a poor pass from MLS All-Star Walker Zimmerman, with Kervin Arriaga winning the header and starting the counter attack. The Loons’ quick action had Emanuel Reynoso providing the assist to his fellow Argentine.

Fragapane has five goals and two assists over the last nine games since June 29. His presence on the scoresheet coincides with the Loons’ hot stretch.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Nashville SC
Nashville SC midfielder Hany Mukhtar handles the ball against Minnesota United FC defender Michael Boxall on Sunday during the second half at Geodis Park in Nashville, Tenn.
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports

The Loons were fortunate to have the lead as Nashville controlled the game. It outshot MNUFC 21-10, but Minnesota blocked six shots and Nashville also had seven corners to Minnesota’s one.

Minnesota manager Adrian Heath brought on Joseph Rosales in the 73rd minute and switch the shape to a 4-3-3. Rosales’ cross to Benitez came two minutes later.

Nashville earned an equalizer with a constant peppering of Loons defense in the second half. MLS All-Star Hany Mukhtar got space on the back post of a recycled free kick and scored 1-1 in the 61st minute. Mukhtar is in the top five in the league with 15 goals.

New midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez made his MLS debut, subbing in for Reynoso in the 84th minute. It appeared Reynoso, who tweaked his ankle in the All-Star Game, had an issue at the end of his shift.

Nashville was without Teal Bunbury, a Prior Lake native, who picked up an injury in training this week. He had scored in the previous four games. Maple Grove native Luke Haakenson subbed into the game in the second half for Nashville.

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Related Topics: MINNESOTA LOONSSOCCER
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