Minnesota United Plays to 1-1 Draw With FC Edmonton
In front of the home fans for the first time in three weeks, Minnesota United (2W-2T-2L, 8pts) played to a 1-1 draw against FC Edmonton (1W-4T-1L, 7pts)
United fell down to 10 men in the 62nd minute after Sinisa Ubiparipovic was shown a red card. Minnesota took fought on and took the lead in the 75th minute on a curling cross from Miguel Ibarra that found the head of Cristiano Dias who powered it into the back of the net. The Eddies pulled level just a minute later as Corey Hertzog forced the ball beyond the gloves of United keeper Matt VanOekel.
“It was an emotional game and I’m proud of the guys,” said Head Coach Manny Lagos. “It was a difficult game, the fans hung in there for us, I thought we navigated things well and I thought the heart of the team showed today.”
Minnesota United came into the match looking to earn their first victory at NSC Stadium in 2013 and build off of their thrilling stoppage-time win last weekend, but were held to a single point after Edmonton pulled a goal back just two minutes after United had taken the lead. In a well played first half, Minnesota was able to maintain a majority of possession while creating scoring chances. Calum Mallace was terrific in the midfield, showcasing creativity and strength, allowing wingers Miguel Ibarra and Lucas Rodriguez to run the flanks and pepper in crosses to United attackers.
FC Edmonton’s Corey Hertzog had a great chance in the 24th minute on a nice pass from Robert Garrett, but his headed effort drifted just wide of the post. United looked to take the lead moments later as forward Max Griffin pushed a shot wide of the Eddies net. The teams exchanged chances throughout the first half, but neither side could break the deadlock and entered the halftime locker room square at 0-0.
United came out aggressive in the second half, Calum Mallace had a chance at a free kick in the 58th minute, but his effort led just over the crossbar. This was followed by what appeared to be the first goal of the game as Max Griffin coolly slotted home a cross in the 59th minute but the joy was short-lived as he was deemed to have been in an offside position. In the 62nd minute United were left with 10 men after substitute Sinisa Ubiparipovic was shown the straight red card for kicking Edmonton’s Chris Nurse.
“It’s such a difficult time with it being a guy we just subbed in,” Lagos said. “To get up a goal was great, I’m disappointed they came back but I thought we fought and battled down a man.”
The game opened up after the red card was issued; United defender Kevin Venegas and Miguel Ibarra continued to probe the Edmonton defense creating several good scoring opportunities. Minnesota finally broke through in the 75th minute. Ibarra took a short pass on a corner kick and played a perfectly weighted cross to the onrushing Cristiano Dias, who forcefully headed it into the back of the Eddies net, giving Minnesota the 1-0 lead.
Just as the United fans had finished cheering, FC Edmonton leveled the game on a well-earned goal from Corey Hertzog, who forced the cross from Antonio Rago underneath the gloves of Minnesota keeper Matt VanOekel. The game remained level at 1-1 and each team had to settle for the draw.
Minnesota heads to New York to take on the Cosmos next Saturday, September 14. Watch LIVE on www.MNUnitedFC.com or at our Official Watch Party at Brit’s Pub. United returns home, Saturday September 28th to face the San Antonio Scorpions. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 763.331.8777 or on www.MNUnitedFC.com
ASPIRE Beverages Highlights
Minnesota lineup: GK Matt VanOekel; D Cristiano Dias, Connor Tobin (c), Aaron Pitchkolan, Kevin Venegas; M Miguel Ibarra, Calum Mallace, Floyd Franks, Lucas Rodriguez (Sinisa Ubiparipovic, 60th); F Mike Ambersley (Simone Bracalello, 85th), Max Griffin (Kentaro Takada, 77th)
Minnesota unused subs: GK Mitch Hildebrandt; D Brian Kallman; M Omar Daley; F Travis Wall
Opponent lineup: GK Lance Parker; D Albert Watson (c), Mallan Roberts, Lance Laing, Antonio Rago; M Neil Hlavaty; Chris Nurse, Gagan Dosanjh (Shaun Saiko, 69th), Robert Garrett (Michael Cox, 67th); F Daryl Fordyce, Corey Hertzog
Opponent unused subs: GK John Smits; D David Proctor; F , Sadi Jalali
MNU – Cristiano Dias (Miguel Ibarra) 76th
OPP – Corey Hertzog (Antonio Rago) 77th
FCE – Neil Hlavaty (Yellow Card) 28th
MNU – Sinisa Ubiparipovic (ejection) 62nd
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