Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath says it’s too simplistic to say his team is following the same path as star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso.
But it certainly helps when their gifted playmaker also scores.
Reynoso scored twice and assisted on his side’s third and final goal in Sunday’s tense 3-2 win over Real Salt Lake at Allianz Field.
As they did Wednesday at LA Galaxy, the Loons scored the first three goals of the game and then hung on to win. Real Salt Lake two goals in 5 minutes, in the 71st and 76th minutes.
Sunday’s victory was their second in a row after the Loons went 1-6-1 in their previous games, 1-7-1 if you include all competitions.
It happened when both teams played for another minute or two after the south scoreboard displayed “Loons” as a sign of victory and the supporters’ section let out smoke in celebration.
However, they waited to play “Wonderwall”.
On Friday, Heath was asked if it was too simplistic to say the Loons go as their star midfielder, or score.
“Well, yes it is,” Heath said. “It’s a bit disrespectful to everyone. When you look at the contribution of our back four over the past two years, we’re still in the top third of defensive units, Robin Lod, Fraga (Franco Fragapane) looking more like its old self the last two games.
“But there is no doubt that Rey is a quality player. What we have to achieve now is to maintain the level of performance and output like he did the other day and if we do that, he will be a huge boost for us in the second half of the season.”
Reynoso scored twice for a second game in a row – and both again in the first half, just as he did when the Loons took a 3-0 lead before halftime on Wednesday at LA Galaxy.
Just like Wednesday, Reynoso scored another early goal, in the ninth minute of the game to take a 1-0 lead.
He did this by creating a shot for himself when he saved a ball just before it rolled over the baseline to the right of goal. When two defenders tried to trap him against that backline, he rounded both in two strides with the ball on his left foot.
Once clear of both players, he hit a left-footed shot from 10 yards that escaped goalie Zac MacMath.
Loons DJ Taylor, Fragapane and Bongokuhle Hlongwane all had their share of chances afterwards, but the game remained one goal until Reynoso netted his second, in first-half stoppage time. . He fended off the rebound from his own penalty after being tackled from behind by RSL defender Aaron Herrera in an open run with the ball inside the 18-yard box.
MacMath guessed right on the awarded penalty, diving low and left to his left. But the ball bounced off Reynoso, who headed it with his left foot into the open goal before MacMath or his teammates could react.
Reynoso created striker Luis Amarilla’s fourth goal of the season, a 61st-minute chip on MacMath on a full run that made it 3-0. Reynoso delivered a perfectly weighted pass through two defenders to Amarilla cutting 15 yards down the field.
Chased unsuccessfully by RSL defender Johan Kapelhoff, Amarilla ran free with the ball towards MacMath as he came out of his goal but couldn’t get close enough before Amarilla landed his shot just inside. outside the penalty area of 18 meters.
It was Amarilla’s fourth goal this season. That 3-0 lead didn’t last long, not after Real Salt Lake responded by scoring two goals in five minutes.
RSL star Jefferson Savarino’s sliding shot into the penalty area redirected a cross pass past Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair in the 71st minute. A video review looked for offsides, but found none.
Salt Lake scored again in the 76th minute, when forward Anderson Julio got up from a group of players on a corner kick and kicked the ball over and past St. Clair on the other side fillet.
Amarilla had gone ahead on Sunday; he left Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles in the first half limping due to strained adductor muscles.
The Loons played without central midfielders and fellow Hondurans Kervin Arriaga and Joseph Rosales.
Arriaga is expected for the next few weeks due to an ankle ligament injury suffered in the first two minutes of Wednesday. Rosales was suspended for hitting back during a postgame altercation in Los Angeles
Heath responded by moving right striker Robin Lod downfield to a central midfield position next to captain Wil Trapp, with Fragapane, Reynoso and Hlongwane just below Amarilla at the striker.
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