A first-half strike from Finnish International Robin Lod proved to be enough for Minnesota United to secure a point on the road, leaving Subaru Park with a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union Saturday afternoon.
The Loons 2021 leading goalscorer opened his 2022 account on opening day with a gorgeous strike slammed into the roof of the net. Winger Franco Fragapane made a sizzling run down the left side of the pitch and dished the ball across the box to Lod, who had the composed finish above the hands of Union goalkeeper Andre Blake
Lod spent the entirety of his offseason in his native Finland, performing his obligated military duties for two straight months. Despite him not being up to speed, head coach Adrian Heath was very pleased with Lod’s performance on Saturday.
“Well you know, considering the off-season, I don’t think people realized that the two months he was in a forest somewhere in Finland,” Heath Said. “So, you know it’s not been an ideal rest and recovery for him, he’s probably still not over his rest, that’ll be the next few weeks for him. But he’s come in and trained really hard.”
The Loons winger feels that he’s slowly getting up to match fitness, but understands he’s still behind the rest of the squad due to his offseason commitments.
“Yeah, I mean, I was doing my military service. My call in Finland and just did everything, what they asked me to do there and just at the same time, trying to keep myself as in good shape as I could,” Lod said. “Hopefully, I get a few weeks to play with the team and then get to Portland to have to get, before the season. So I felt pretty good coming into the season, so I’m happy on the condition I’m in.”
Despite his lack of fitness, Lod was one of the Loons most active players in the final-third against the Union with four shots and the lone goal. Lod played all 90+ minutes for the Loons despite his fitness, but he sees no issue with it. Now that the first match of the season is in the books, the Loons are set to return home next weekend to take on Nashville SC on Saturday, March 5 at 5 pm CT.
For Lod, it’s one of his favorite days of the season.
“As a second game, I feel like everybody’s happy to get back home. Maybe it helps a little bit to get the first game out of the way, to get the nerves out. So, I feel so happy to go play in Allianz Field, I love playing in front of our fans, and the atmosphere is always so electric, but I’m excited to go back to play at Allianz Field and yeah, I feel really confident.”
The Loons will look to earn their first three points of the season next weekend at home at Allianz Field under the guidance of their Finnish Talisman, but a strong Nashville side will stand in their way.