|UEFA Champions League|
Minnesota United host Revolution for first time
Minnesota United FC looked like world-beaters for four-fifths of its match against Real Salt Lake on Saturday and then looked like a team that almost forgot how to win in the final 15 minutes.
But the Loons survived for a 3-2 victory at home over surging Real Salt Lake. Minnesota United now looks to carry that momentum into Wednesday's home match against the New England Revolution at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Coming off the first hat trick in Minnesota United FC history the previous week, Darwin Quintero had another spectacular offensive performance in the win. The Loons forward scored a goal and had a hand in his team's other two goals against Real Salt Lake.
Minnesota United (7-11-1, 22 points) scored all three goals in the second half, with Ibson getting it started in the 51st minute and Miguel Ibarra adding one the 68th. But the home side had to hold on after Joao Plata, a mid-second half sub, scored twice for Real Salt Lake to cut Minnesota's lead to one. Plata's second goal was a header in the 85th minute.
Loons coach Adrian Heath was more than a little peeved at how his team nearly gave away a three-goal lead.
"Trying to throw away 75 minutes of good work by people deciding that they know best," Heath fumed in his postgame news conference. "They will do what they want, rather than what we know what's right."
Twenty-five percent of Minnesota's goals allowed this season have come after the 75th minute, including both on Saturday.
"For me to be in this mood, after we won a game and played so well for 75 minutes is ridiculous," Heath told the St. Paul Pioneer Press after the win. "But we tried to do it against Toronto. We've done it on the road in Colorado. Maybe they will start listening to the coaches instead of everything else that's going around the club."
New England (7-5-7, 28 points) heads to Minnesota on the heels of a 3-2 loss at home to the LA Galaxy.
For 90-plus minutes of that match, New England did almost everything right despite playing with 10 men for most of the match after the 23rd-minute ejection of Cristian Penilla.
The Revolution led 2-1 in the late stages of the match and were threatening for a killer third goal.
But it all came apart in stoppage time when the Galaxy scored twice just seconds apart to turn what would have been a character-building victory into a gut-punch loss for New England.
"I'm very, very proud of my players and the effort that they put in tonight," New England coach Brad Friedel said. "To come undone on three goals in the manner that we did is heartbreaking. It's sickening. But the players know that they put in a valiant effort. The players know that we were the better side.
"The players also know that we gave up three soft goals, and that's sports. I really can't say too many negative things other than about the three goals and the fact that we lost, because the players put in such a monumental effort. It would be wrong of me to come up and have a go at them, because the effort was tremendous."
This will be New England's first visit to the Twin Cities and just the second meeting between the Revolution and Minnesota United FC, which joined MLS as an expansion side just last season.
In the only previous meeting, the Revolution rolled past the Loons in a dominant 5-2 victory in last year's home opener at Gillette Stadium, where Juan Agudelo led the way with two goals.
New England's visit to TCF Bank Stadium will start a two-game road trip; it will take on the New York Red Bulls three days later in Harrison, N.J.
Updated July 16, 2018