Minnesota United FC left it late Saturday evening at Allianz Field, scoring twice in the final 15 minutes for a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Portland Timbers, their second win over a Cascadia Cup team in as many weeks.
In a match that could have long-term Western Conference Playoff implications, the Loons shrugged off a slow first half and came out of the gates with fire in their eyes. The Loons had 28 shots all game; however, shots don’t necessarily mean success. Despite the attacking prowess the squad featured, Portland remained in control for most of the match, that is until the final 15 minutes. The first goal came from Chase Gasper, with the second coming from Robin Lod. For the MNUFC fullback, it’s a weight off his shoulders.
Gasper started this season in sluggish fashion, with some uncharacteristic mistakes and performances over the first stretch of matches for the Loons. The defender seemed to put a lot of blame on himself, which wasn’t technically warranted. Nevertheless, Saturday was a redemption performance for the American.
“It wasn’t the best start to the season,” he said. “These things happen. That’s life; it’s part of the game. It’s not about getting knocked down; it’s about getting back up. That’s what I’ve been focused on. The past is in the past, and I’m focused on the future.”
Gasper’s mentality puts him in a category of players who have a certain sense of motivation surrounding the concept of perseverance. He constantly wants to see self-improvement, and it feels like Saturday might have been the turning point.
Loons gaffer Adrian Heath mentioned the improvement he’s seen in Chase throughout the season, as did teammate Wil Trapp, and Heath’s comments reassure his trust and faith in the 25-year-old.
“Pleased for Chase [Gasper],” Heath said after Saturday’s game. “I think he had a difficult start to the season, but I think he’s back to his best. And the one thing about the kid, you can never fault him for his determination, his efforts, and his enthusiasm. What he brings every day to this football club. You know, you build football clubs around people like Chase Gasper, for sure.”
Gasper and the Loons now embark on a stretch where they will be playing three matches over the course of seven days.
Their biggest test comes against one of the Western Conference powerhouses, LAFC, Wednesday evening at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. Kickoff is slated for 9:30 pm CT.