Rookie scores winning goal in Minnesota United win over Portland
MINNEAPOLIS-Minnesota United continues to raise its level of play at TCF Bank Stadium.Rookie Abu Danladi scored the winning goal in the 64th minute to propel the Loons to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday in a Major League Socc...
MINNEAPOLIS-Minnesota United continues to raise its level of play at TCF Bank Stadium.
Rookie Abu Danladi scored the winning goal in the 64th minute to propel the Loons to a 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday in a Major League Soccer match.
United (5-9-2) had lost four of its past five MLS games and entered Wednesday's game in last place in the Western Conference, but the Loons won their fifth home game against zero road wins in their debut season in the top domestic league.
United coach Adrian Heath placed higher expectations on Wednesday's match because it was at the club's temporary home until the St. Paul stadium is built. The Loons had wins in two of past three games at the University of Minnesota football stadium, with the 2-1 loss to Los Angeles considered one of Minnesota's best games.
In the 70th minute Wednesday, Portland's Sebastian Blanco kicked Danladi, who then kicked Blanco. Both were booked with red cards, and their teams had to play with 10 men.
Danladi's goal came after Portland goalie Jeff Attinella tried to punch out an incoming ball and piled up on top of Christian Ramirez. The ball went straight to Danladi, who calmly put the ball in the back of the next as Attinella struggled to untangle himself.
Ramirez, Minnesota's leading scorer, gave the Loons a brief 2-1 lead with his flick over Attinella in the 47th minute.
The Loons gave it right back in the 50th minute when Francisco Calvo netted an own goal. It was the opposite of what occurred in the first half.
The Loons' consistent pressure forced Portland to crack in the seventh minute. After two corners, Minnesota defensive midfielder Sam Cronin's cross to the front of the net was put in for an own goal as Portland's Amobi Okugo tried to make a sliding stop.
The goal ended Minnesota's scoreless streak at 221 minutes of MLS action and 311 total minutes, including the 4-0 defeat to Kansas City in the U.S. Open Cup last Wednesday. The Loons' previous goal came against Orlando City on May 27.
The Timbers sank the first-half equalizer on a penalty kick from Diego Valeri in the 37th minute. Valeri was awarded the kick after colliding with Loons goalie Bobby Shuttleworth when the ball entered the box.
The Timbers (7-7-3), who won MLS Cup in 2015, were in second place in the West before the game but have now lost five straight road games.
In their first matchup in March, Minnesota made its MLS debut and fell apart late in a 5-1 Timbers blowout at Providence Park. United cut the Timbers' lead to 2-1 in 79th minute but gave up three goals in the final 15 minutes to kickstart one of the worst defensive starts in MLS history.