Loons grounded in Los Angeles during midweek clash with LAFC

Action from MNUFC’s away defeat to LAFC on 29 May, 2024 (Photo courtesy of MNUFC)

Minnesota United headed out west for a midweek showdown with LAFC in the City of Angels on Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the Loons the trip was not so angelic as they fell 2-0 to hosts LAFC. Heading into the match MNUFC was sitting one point above the Black-and-Gold with 25 points through 13 matches. Coming off a 3-3 draw with Colorado the previous weekend the Loons looked to continue a six-match unbeaten streak. Los Angeles FC on the other hand aimed to get a return leg victory, after falling to Minnesota 2-0 in St. Paul earlier this season.

The opening 45 minutes were dominated in long stretches by LAFC, with the Loons struggling to retain possession and get shots off, let alone shots on target. But the Minnesota defence initially held their own against LA’s intense attack that took six shots in the first 45 minutes of play. Things turned south for the Loons late in the first half with Will Trapp getting booked in the 36th minute, shortly followed by a DJ Taylor foul inside the box. LAFC’s Denis Bouanga pounded one in from the spot to give the hosts the lead heading into the dressing room.

“That is, unfortunately, the nature of defending against a player with such a change of pace who can shift the ball so well inside the box,” said Minnesota coach Eric Ramsay. “So DJ will certainly learn his lesson and I’m sure next time out that will be in his mind, and hopefully he takes some positive steps.”

Coming out of the dressing room for the second half, Minnesota continued to hold their own defensively against the hosts while still struggling on the attack. “We turned the ball over cheaply. We couldn’t sustain the attacks in the way that we wanted to, so that’s obviously an area that we’ll look at,” Eric Ramsay said about the teams struggles during the post match interview.

It took LAFC until the 82nd minute before they added their second goal of the night, with Mateusz Bogusz scoring a genuine thunder bastard of a goal from way outside the 18, sealing LAFC’s return win against the Loons.

With the loss to LAFC the Loons six-match unbeaten streak came to an end and the team dipped to a very respectable 7-3-4 (W-L-T) and 4th place in the Western Conference. Minnesota currently sits 8th in the Supporters’ Shield standings through 14 of 34 matches on the season.

On May 30th, one day following the match, the long rumoured transfer of Emanuel Reynoso was completed. Minnesota United, who paid Boca Juniors a reported $4 million for the DP midfielder, sold him for an undisclosed amount to Liga MX side Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente (the Xolos). The Mexican side finished up their 2023-24 campaign on April 27th with a 4-1 loss to Tigres and ended the Clausura in 16th place with just two wins in 17 matches. Tijuana is set to participate in the 2024 Leagues Cup being drawn into Group West 7 alongside MLS clubs LAFC and Vancouver Whitecaps.

Minnesota United will face off with Sporting Kansas City this Saturday in St. Paul for another matchup of the “Nicest Rivalry in Sports.” SKC currently sit dead last in the Western Conference and 28th (of 29) overall with a 2-8-5 record and just 15 points to their name. The Loons defeated Sporting 2-1 when they last face off at Allianz Field back in April. After this the clubs will clash one more time in September, with the Loons once again on the road.


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