Saint Paul, Minnesota (April 28, 2019) — Four is the number of combined away victories for D.C. United in the 2017 and 2018 MLS seasons. Currently, D.C. United have won three away matches in a row and victory today saw their longest away win-streak since 2008. Meanwhile, Minnesota United went into the game yet to win at their new stadium Allianz Field.
The always dangerous Carlos Darwin lead the line for Minnesota. The player has the third best shot conversation rate in the MLS and has five goals to his name already. Standout youth products Donovan Pines and Christopher Durkin retained their spots in the starting XI following D.C.’s historic victory in Ohio.
Minnesota United record first ever victory at Allianz Field over D.C. United
D.C. United manager Ben Olsen rode his bike from the team hotel to get a preview of Allianz Field. His tour didn’t prepare him for the energy the Minnesota crowd brought as they starved for their first win at their new home.
Minnesota looked to rotate the ball side-to-side and create quick sequences out wide in effort to try to break into D.C. United’s half. The visitors started where they left off against the Columbus Crew. D.C. were hard to break down and well organized, only pressing in their own half. That’s a signature of their tactical approach so far this season.
Pines, the 21-year-old American, made his third MLS appearance for the red-and-black. Come the 20th minute Wayne Rooney collected the ball outside the Minnesota box and served a cross in. Pines rose above the rest and headed the ball in, rolling off in celebration. Unfortunately for the defender, controversially after the referee reviewed the goal, it was disallowed. It can only be assumed that the referee thought that Minnesota goalkeeper Vito Mannone was somehow fouled.
D.C. doesn’t let lead deter them
D.C. United’s positive play continued despite the setback. They found great success down their left side with Arriola finding space out-wide. D.C.’s off-the-ball movement and quick exchanges proved to cause issues. However, they did not carve out a clear cut opportunity.
Minnesota’s first half can be summed up by the fact that striker Darwin Quintero only had 23 touches of the ball. Olsen’s men had Minnesota’s attack well marshaled.
Supporters at the Allianz Field expected a strong response from their side in the second-half. The Loons came out much more lively, playing at a faster tempo as they looked determined to break the dead-lock. Minnesota left it late, rewarding their fans patience. There was uncertainty regarding if the Minnesota club would ever see the light of day a historic moment was on the cards.
In the 82nd minute, right-back Romain Metanire received the ball in space. Meanwhile, forward Angelo Rodriguez made a run in behind the D.C. defense and Metanire’s cross found him as he put it past stopper Bill Hamid.
Allianz Field imploded with energy as the Loons got to celebrate in front of the Wonder Wall for the first time. Despite D.C. United’s great goal scoring exploits in the final 15 minutes of games they couldn’t salvage this game as Minnesota fans sang Wonder Wall for the first time at Allianz Field.
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) April 28, 2019
Donovan Pines: Pines had another outstanding game in defense for D.C. United. Not committing a single foul, producing six clearances and winning three out of four of his tackles. This is shaping up to be a breakout season for the youngster. If he continues, a United States National team call-up is waiting.
A big win for Minnesota: Adrian Heath and his team were determined to get their first victory at Allianz Field. After failing to win in their last two home games it will be great for the Loons to build confidence in their new home especially against a team in such form as D.C. With aspirations of their club achieving their first ever play-off birth, today’s victory is a step in the right direction.
A developing concern for D.C.: In D.C.’s last three games they have not scored a goal in open play. D.C. went the whole game without creating a clear cut goal scoring opportunity vs. Minnesota. For a team with such attacking talent this is a red flag. A return to the 4-2-3-1 formation may be on the cards for Ben Olsen.