On a chilly evening in St. Paul, Minnesota United and LAFC played to a 1-1 stalemate at Allianz Field Saturday evening.
The contest featured two sides in pole position to earn an Audi 2021 Playoff spot, but a draw did neither team any favors on the night. Three points would have momentarily put the Loons in 4th in the West, positioned to earn a home playoff game, but a single point on the night has them in 6th for the time being. On the contrary, LAFC will continue to look up at the top-seven in the West, sitting in ninth. Three points could have seen the guests rise up the ranks to as high as sixth.
In an extremely tight Western Conference, set pieces proved to be the difference with both sides as each team scored from a free kick situation. It was a chippy back-and-forth contest that saw each goalkeeper come up big for their side in timely situations, but each shotstopper was to blame for the conceded goals, as well.
In the 32nd minute, Wil Trapp was given a yellow card for a harsh foul and LAFC was awarded a freekick. Cristian Arango, a frontrunner for MLS Newcomer of the year, blasted the set piece past the Loons wall and the ball went straight through the legs of goalkeeper Tyler Miller. For the second straight game, Miller has been at fault for a goalkeeping error that had led to a goal for the opposition.
In the 65th minute, LAFC defender Jesus Murillo swiped the legs of Emanuel Reynoso out from underneath him and the Argentine earned a free kick from the edge of the LAFC 18-yard-box. Reynoso's attempt was parried away by shotstopper Jamal Blackmon, but the ball ended up on the boot of Loons captain Osvaldo Alonso who volleyed home across the net to a deafeningly loud Allianz Field.
The Loons best chance at a winner came in the 72nd minute when Adrien Hunou was served up a delicious through ball from Franco Fragapane. The Frenchman was set up for a 1v1 with Blackmon, but Murillo caught up to him before he was able to get the shot off.
LAFC struggled to contain the Loons press throughout the second-half, and as a result, they struggled to gain any forward momentum.
- 32' - LAFC - Cristian Arango
- 65' - MIN - Osvaldo Alonso
- THE BIG PICTURE: This is two points dropped for MNUFC, who seemed to be in control the entire second-half, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The Loons had a chance to find themselves in a home playoff game spot, but a lack of clinical finishing in the final third was their doom. For LAFC, Arango was everywhere, but his teammates were nowhere to be found. They seemed overwhelmed for most of the second-half and struggled to get any forward momentum as a group. Bob Bradley’s side needed three points, but they’ll have to settle for one.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Osvaldo Alonso’s 65th minute goal. The Loons captain secured a point for his side and came up big in an intense moment.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Emanuel Reynoso. The Loons talisman was everywhere, wreaking havoc and causing chaos for LAFC. He was fouled more times than you can count it seemed, but the Argentine drew the foul for their lone goal and was their best attacker on the pitch.
- LAFC: Tuesday, October 26 vs Seattle Sounders | 7:30 pm PT (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)