Minnesota United FC dispatched FC Dallas 3-2 on Wednesday night with a performance that was much more commanding than the scoreline would suggest.
United was in control for the majority of the match, and seemed to only allow their Texan visitors to score whenever they grew bored of outplaying them for lengthy stretches. It was a bit nervy at the end, but ultimately the Loons deserved all three points. Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath now sees his team vault back to the tip top of the league standings. Additionally, the Englishman is at the helm of the league’s most potent attack, having amassed an MLS-best 21 goals.
A thriving attack. United has found its fluency in attack once again, driven primarily by club-record signing Emanuel Reynoso and leading scorer Kevin Molino. The two provide a proficient one-two punch for Minnesota going forward as defenses don’t know whether to stick or twist. See, normally teams have one key creator and then everyone plays off of their decisions. With Molino and Reynoso, you have two who are adept at creating, and it is giving opponents fits.
Playing away from Allianz Field. Minnesota has snatched back — for now — their elite status in MLS by winning two on the trot and usurping Sporting KC for the top spot in the West. But United love their homecoming in St. Paul and did this numerous times last year. The Loons need to find a way to replicate this form on the road. Heck, it’s entirely predictable United will drop points this weekend when they travel to Kansas City.
COACH RATING OUT OF 10
8 — Heath has his boys back to winning ways and United now sit atop the Western Conference. What’s more, Heath is looking mightily vindicated for sticking by Robin Lod — the Fin has been a key figure in the last two wins. Taking that one step further, Heath has been the catalyst when it came to bringing Molino and Reynoso to Minnesota, too. If his team can do one level better than their sparkling campaign last year, we might be looking at an MLS Coach of the Year candidate.
(1-10 | 10 = Best)
*Players introduced late may get no rating
GK Dayne St. Clair, 5 — In two starts this season, the 23-year-old Canadian is 2-0 with one clean sheet. Coincidentally, his competition, Greg Ranjitsingh, is 0-3. You’d have to say it’d be mighty harsh to blame Ranjitsingh for United’s form in those losses, which was objectively poor. Still, it’s nearly impossible to envision Heath rotating his goalkeepers considering the coinciding fortunes of his team in the last two victories. St. Clair has looked the part in both matches and seems ready for the moment. That said, the former first-round pick hasn’t yet been tested with nearly any shot attempts on goal. In the last two matches, St. Clair has just three saves, including zero on Wednesday night.
RB Romain Metanire, 6 — Was a bundle of energy on Wednesday and was in “Elite Romain” form. He’s among those who’ve been best served by the mini home stretch as before he looked below his best. Cracking assist on Molino’s first goal. Though the red card was unduly harsh, he didn’t need to dive in like that.
CB Michael Boxall, 7 — Such a key figure for United this season. He’s been steady in both the wins and losses, which not every player can say. When the team in front of him performs, he and his partner Aja do their job with great competency.
CB Jose Aja, 6 — Would have liked to see him clear the corner kick which resulted in Dallas’ second goal. But the impromptu pairing of Boxall-Aja has been an absolute revelation for Heath and Co. this season.
LB Chase Gasper, 6 — A trademark Gasper performance: clean and crisp in almost everyone of his involvements.
CM Jan Gregus, 4 — His game hasn’t been as crisp and technical as you’d like lately, but at least in this one he made up for it with hustle and industry until the very last minute. “Elite Gregus” should reappear at some point soon.
CM Hassani Dotson, 5 — Maybe he could be United’s future No. 6: His positioning and tackling were superb on the night. He seems to win more 50/50 tackles than any Loon apart for the storied Ozzie Alonso. But maybe he’s not a No. 6: I was disappointed with his loose distribution throughout, which seemed to result in numerous untimely turnovers.
CAM Emanuel Reynoso, 7 — Not a flashy performance to say the least, but maybe his most influential quality is the amount of calm he continues to bring MNUFC when in possession. His place in the team also releases Molino into a more free role, which, as evidenced Wednesday, wreaks havoc on opposing defenses. United have seven goals in the two matches Reynoso has started.
RW Kevin Molino, 8 — I articulated above how Reynoso is providing a huge boost to Molino, but the Trinidadian is himself executing at a fantastic level in these last two victories. The 30-year-old scored twice on Wednesday, but could have had even more. He also created a bevy of flowing moves and great chances.
LW Robin Lod, 8 — Though Minnesota’s second leading goalscorer didn’t find the back of the net in this one, he performed robustly. Lod clearly appeared buoyed by his smashing performance at the weekend as he exuded confidence in everything he did; a stark contrast to his normal meandering style of play. The Finnish international also provided a peach of an assist.
ST Mason Toye, 5 — A much better performance than what he showed against Real Salt Lake this weekend, particular with his fantastic nutmeg goal. Toye has proven he can finish and score goals in MLS. What remains to be seen is if he can polish what is an otherwise incredibly raw all-around game.
CM Jacori Hayes, N/A
ST Raheem Edwards, N/A
CB Bakaye Dibassy, N/A