United win 3-2 In Stoppage-Time Thriller
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (August 31, 2013) – Minnesota United came away with 3 points in an up-and-down thriller as defender Connor Tobin scored in the final moments to lead United to a 3-2 win Saturday night at Toyota Field in San Antonio, TX. Former Scorpion Pablo Campos tallied 2 goals to give United a 2-1 lead early in the second half, only to see the lead evaporate in the 78th minute after a great finish from the Scorpions Tomasz Zahorski. Minnesota snatched victory in the final moments after Miguel Ibarra snuck a cross through the Scorpions defense, where Tobin threw his body on the ball and redirected the ball into the net with the final play of the game, giving United the victory.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys because they played until the final whistle,” said United head coach Manny Lagos. “It’s nice that we can create the good moments to win.”
Minnesota came into Saturday in 7th place in the North American Soccer League standings, looking to push into the upper half of the table. The Scorpions entered the weekend, sitting in 8th, having relieved their head coach, Tim Hankinson of his coaching duties, leaving former Minnesota Thunder player, Alen Marcina as the interim head coach.
United came out very crisp and precise as they strung together passes throughout the opening 15 minutes of the match, keeping San Antonio on the back foot. Walter Ramirez gave the Scorpions the early lead in the 14th minute with an expertly curled shot from 25 yards out that found the top left corner. Campos answered 20 minutes later, as he found himself in front of the Scorpions net in the 34th minute, finishing easily to level the match at 1-1.
United came out strong to open the second 45 and Campos scored his second goal of the game, and 8th in the 2013 season, after persevering in front of the net, getting his own deflection and slotting it home to give United the 2-1 lead. Things would get worse for the Scorpions in the 57th minute as midfielder Jeff Jennings was shown the straight red card for an over aggressive sliding challenge on United defender Cristiano Dias.
Minnesota strangely allowed possession to level out with the man advantage and saw their lead slip away in the 78th minute as the Scorpions Tomasz Zahorski bolted a shot past United keeper Matt VanOekel tying the game at 2-2. Campos had a chance at a hat trick in the 88th minute as he cheekily slipped a chip over Scorpions keeper Pat Hannigan, only to see it drift agonizingly wide of the right post.
As the head referee signaled for 5 minutes of added-time, each team knew there were more chances to be had. United seized their opportunity with the final touch of the match. Minnesota winger Miguel Ibarra diligently fought for the ball deep into Scorpions territory and found himself gashing into the box where he laid across a tantalizing ball that only required body contact to send it into the back of the net. Connor Tobin gladly obliged, getting the touch and sending United home with a thrilling, well-deserved 3-2 victory.
“We started out the season being average and it was important that we found a way to win because we’ve played some good soccer and not won.” offered a relieved Lagos. Minnesota now sits in 3rd place (2W-1T-2L, 7pts) just 3 points out of 1st place as they head back home to National Sports Center Stadium to face FC Edmonton, Saturday September 7th. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CDT. Get tickets by calling 763.331.8777 or head to www.MNUnitedFC.com
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