Minnesota United FC enters the 2016 North American Soccer League (NASL) with one mission – win the NASL championship before joining the ranks of MLS in either 2017 or 2018. Minnesota United FC, with the win over the New York Cosmos, has a 3-1 record and sits in second place in the NASL standings behind the undefeated Carolina RailHawks.
Minnesota United can count this victory as not just one on paper. The team played gutsy football in the rough match that tallied eight cards, including a red card to Damion Lowe in the 53rd minute that left the Loons one man short for the final 37 minutes of the game. The ten man Loon defense played strong, limiting the 11 strong Cosmo attack and mounting several of their own.
As the game wore on, it seemed as though the conditioning of the Loons shown strong. After several chances, one called back on an offside call, Minnesota United’s scoring machine, Christian Ramirez found himself with just the goaltender between him and the back of the net and buried the shot with less than a minute to go in regulation time.
Sprinting toward the tunnel, the shirt came off and teammates swarmed and, in the 89th minute the Loons celebrated the likely game winning goal. After
six plus minutes of stoppage time, the referee called the game and the Loons won their third game of the year and put some separation between them and the New York Cosmos in the standings. Even more satisfying, the win was the club’s first defeat of New York in team history.
Other highlights of the game include Minnesota United goaltender, Sammy Ndjock, who has not allowed a goal in three games, or 334 minutes. The two teams played in front of a 9,078 person crowd. The games, played at the National Sports Center in Blaine, are a great family outing. There is a kid zone with plenty of space to run around and many culinary options with a selection of food trucks.
The Loons will play their next game away against the Ottawa Fury (0-1-3) before heading home for a game against the Jacksonville Armada (1-1-2) Saturday, May 14th, 2016.