The MLS season has already been taken in a million and one different directions, and there’s an argument to be made that we’re only just getting started. Alas, even if you buy into that theory, very few people could’ve anticipated that Minnesota United would come into Los Angeles FC’s backyard and beat them 2-0, which is exactly what they did as reported by MLS Soccer and Star Tribune.
Minnesota came into this game knowing that Los Angeles’ biggest attacking threat, and the biggest attacking threat in all of North America, would not play a factor in the game as Carlos Vela was ruled out due to a hamstring issue. Alas, as the game went on, people forgot about that part of the story and focused on what matters: the performance of Minnesota United.
Against all odds
It was a bizarre four minute spell that handed Minnesota the win, with Mason Toye scoring twice – once in the 25th minute, and then again in the 29th minute. The home side did manage to pick up 77% of the possession, though, which gives you a pretty good indication as to how the general theme of the game went.
If it wasn’t for Mannone in the Minnesota goal then there’s a good chance that this could’ve been a very different story, but in the end, the MLS Cup favourites just weren’t able to get into the kind of stride that we’ve been used to seeing from them.
“This group was so disappointed after losing the [U.S. Open Cup] final to Atlanta,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said of Tuesday night’s defeat. “For them to pick themselves up and put in that type of performance on the road against the league leaders who haven’t lost at home all season speaks to the character of the group.”
In reference to Vela not playing, the coach had the following to say. “Every time the ball comes to him, you think, ‘This is a problem,’ ” Heath said. “We were very pleased to see his name not on the team sheet before the game, to be honest.”
Making a statement
“We had to have been the most disciplined we’ve been all season,” said Heath. “We knew we had to withstand a lot of pressure, but I thought our discipline was absolutely magnificent, I really do.”
Now that they’re up to third in the rankings, one has to wonder whether or not they can build off of this momentum-surging win and go on to even bigger and better things. Coming away with the MLS Cup crown seems like an improbable reality, but perhaps that’s just us being a little bit too negative.
If nothing else we have once again come to learn that anyone can beat anyone in this game, and there’s no way of getting around that fact anymore. You have to respect and appreciate whatever it is that your opponents bring to the table, and you could argue that Los Angeles didn’t here.
A loss for LA Galaxy against the Sounders would’ve eased the pain a bit, but again, that’s another threat they have to contend with.