Minnesota United Puts An End To Seattle’s Historic Unbeaten Start

Robin Lod scored the game-winner in the 81st minute as the Loons finally defeated the Sounders.

Any MLS club in Seattle’s shoes gets blown away on Sunday against Minnesota United at Allianz Field. 

It’s an away day in mid-July with the temperature at 90 degrees. Minnesota is strong at home and hungry for a first-ever win over the Sounders at the ninth time of asking. Seattle, on the other hand, has nine players listed as “out” and has to call up two players from the Tacoma Defiance reserve team, including 15-year-old Alaskan Obed Vargas.   

This is a recipe for disaster in America’s top division.

But the Sounders entered the match on a historic 13-game unbeaten streak to start the season, which is a really remarkable record in a league that prides itself on parity.

The Sounders are wired differently. That’s the only way you can explain the single-mindedness that’s led to four MLS Cup final appearances in the last five years, and a start to this campaign that saw the side concede only eight goals through 13 games. 

That defensive resilience was on display in Saint Paul, but it’s worth noting that there’s no team in MLS that’s worse at getting its shots on target than Minnesota. The Loons put on a master class in that futility throughout the opening 45 with six shots, zero on target. 

The Sounders, on the other hand, played with enough menace on the break to trouble Tyler Miller into three saves. Early in the second half, Abdoulaye Cissoko had one cleared off the line. 

But the Sounders finally broke in the 81st minute, when Niko Hansen — fed by an Emanuel Reynoso nutmeg pass — picked out Robin Lod for the game-winner. Lod said he wanted to “make them suffer and have the first loss” before the game, and the Finnish attacker did just that.

The league’s final unbeaten team has fallen, but the Sounders still lead the Supporters’ Shield race with 29 points from 14 games. For Minnesota, the win moves them up to sixth in the Western Conference. 

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