Image: Minnesota United
On a rainy, slippery night on turf at Lumen Field, neither Minnesota United nor Seattle Sounders were really able to find their footing, both literally and figuratively, but it was an Albert Rusnak 79th minute goal that extended the home side’s MLS home winning streak over the Loons to eight games..
MNUFC defended a shorthanded yet still dangerous Seattle attack successfully for most of the match, but couldn’t take their chances on the attacking end to relieve some of that pressure on the defensive half of the pitch.
When Micky Tapias poked away a long throw into the Sounders’ box, an oncoming Rusnak was first to the loose ball and beat St. Clair to give the hosts all three points.
As promised by manager Adrian Heath, Sang Bin Jeong once again received the start at the No. 10 position in the 4-2-3-1. Robin Lod and Bongi Hlongwane returned to the right and left wings, respectively. Kemar Lawrence, who’s been in Jamaica helping a family member dealing with a health issue, didn’t make the trip with the club. DJ Taylor moved over to right-back in his place with Zarek Valentin filling the left-back spot. Midfielder Wil Trapp was absent from the matchday roster as a precaution for a hamstring issue.
Minnesota’s best chance came in the 39th minute, as Hlongwane took the ball to the byline and found Lod inside the box. The Finn’s shot was blocked right into the direction of an on-running Sang Bin, but the South Korean’s effort from just outside the box rose just over the bar. At half, MNUFC had the advantage in shots, shots on target, and expected goals despite just 32% possession.
The 2nd half would be a different story.
While the Loons couldn’t find many opportunities after the break, the pendulum swung firmly in the direction Brian Schmetzer’s side in both quality and quantity of chances. Not to mention, this was without star attacker Raul Ruidiaz and with a limited Jordan Morris.
The loss is Minnesota’s third in a row after starting the season unbeaten through five matches. Adrian Heath’s side now travels straight to Detroit for a U.S. Open Cup third round match with Detroit City FC on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. CT. MLS play resumes for the Loons next Sunday, April 30th, at Allianz Field against FC Dallas at 8 p.m. CT.