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 Minnesota United FC

Minnesota United Earns a Point in 2024 Home Opener

March 2, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Minnesota United FC News Release


ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota United (1-0-1, 4 points) remains undefeated to start the 2024 MLS Regular Season following a 1-1 draw against the Columbus Crew with a last-minute goal from forward Tani Oluwaseyi.

8': Loons' forward Teemu Pukki had the first shot of the match after Sang Bin dribbled through the midfield and sent a through ball to Pukki. Pukki's shot was saved by Crew goalkeeper Patrick Schulte.

24': The Crew's striker Cucho Hernández connected with a pass from Max Arfsten on the right side of the field and fired a right-footed shot towards the goal at the top of the six-yard box, but MNUFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair was able to make the save to keep the game nil-nil.

33': The Crew nearly scored their first goal of the match from a service into the box, Hernández headed in a cross but St. Clair made his second save of the match.

38': MNUFC midfielder Wil Trapp slipped the ball through Crew's defensive line to midfielder Hassani Dotson but was just short of connecting with the ball before Shulte got possession.

43': Dayne St. Clair made the final play of the first half, easily saving a shot from Diego Rossi at the top of the six-yard box.

50': Hernández headed in a cross from Christian Ramírez, but St. Clair pushed out the ball wide where Arfsten tried to capitalise on the chance and place the ball in the back of the net but was called offside.

59': Hernández scored the first goal of the match for Columbus with assists from Arfsten and Yaw Yeboah. The service in was placed right to Hernández near the of the 18-yard box where he fired his right-footed shot past St. Clair.

77': Loïc Mensavi nearly found the back of the net following a one-touch shot off a rebound near the goal, but Columbus' goalkeeper was able to keep the ball wide.

90'+5': During the last play of the match, forward Tani Oluwaseyi scored his first MLS goal to tie the game 1-1. The long throw-in by Rosales was headed around by a few Minnesota players before Oluwaseyi was able to gain control outside of the six-yard box, firing a shot over Schulte and towards the back post.

GOAL SUMMARY

1-0 CLB - Cucho Hernández , assisted by Max Arfsten (59')

1-1 MIN - Tanitoluwa Oluwaseyi (90'+5')

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

Caution, MIN - (53') DJ Taylor

NOTABLE STATS

1 - Forward Tanitoluwa Oluwaseyi's game-tying goal was his first MLS goal.

2 - Midfielder Moses Nyeman and forward Jordan-Adebayo Smith made their MNUFC debut, while Alejandro Bran and Caden Clark started in their first MNUFC match.

95:05 - Tani Oluwaseyi's goal was the latest regular season goal scored for Minnesota United since Kevin Molino's goal at 96:06 on July 12, 2020.

ATTENDANCE: 19,906

BELL BANK MAN OF THE MATCH: Sang Bin Jeong

LINEUPS:

Minnesota United XI: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Joseph Rosales, Miguel Tapias, Michael Boxall ©, DJ Taylor; M Hassani Dotson, Wil Trapp, Alejandro Bran, Caden Clark, Sang Bin Jeong; F Teemu Pukki

Bench: GK Clint Irwin; D Devin Padelford, Derek Dodson, Victor Eriksson; M Kervin Arriaga, Moses Nyeman, Loïc Mesanvi; F Tani Oluwaseyi, Jordan Adebayo-Smith

Opposing Team XI: GK Patrick Schulte; D Malte Amundsen; Rudy Camacho, Steven Moreira; M Yaw Yeboah, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe ©, Max Arfsten; F Diego Rossi, Alexandru Matan, Cucho Hernández

Bench: GK Evan Bush; D Philip Quinton, Will Sands, Yevhen Cheberko; M Derrick Jones, Sean Zawadzki; F Marino Hinestroza, Christian Ramírez, Jacen Russell-Rowe

UP NEXT:

MINNESOTA UNITED FC @ ORLANDO CITY SC

Inter&Co. Stadium | Orlando, Florida

03.09.2024 | MLS 2024 Regular Season | Matchday 3

6:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass/1500 ESPN)

MINNESOTA UNITED POST GAME QUOTE SHEET

INTERIM HEAD COACH CAMERON KNOWLES

On his overall thoughts on the match...

"Fantastic finish. I thought the boys deserved a point out of that. First half, again, went toe-to-toe with the defending champions [Columbus Crew]. Still missing some key players. Had some great, fantastic chances in the first half. Some of the elements that we wanted to see in terms of putting them under pressure, winning the ball higher up the field, creating chances from it were fantastic. Just to play every minute of the match. Again, subs came in and changed the game for us. Brought energy, brought life to the game, forcing turnovers in dangerous areas. The boys got rewarded with a point in the end. It's fantastic for them and fantastic for the supporters who stuck with us as well."

On how effective the press has been the past two weeks...

"It started last week, it instills belief in the players, that it can be effective, we can create chances from it. Then it just starts to snowball. The test this week, today, is they [Columbus Crew] are so good at playing out of the back. They average 57 percent possession coming into this. They like to play, they like to take risks with the ball. I'm really proud of the group, they [Minnesota United] stuck with it. They stuck with the plan. They are brave. You see how high some of those defenders are stepping to get pressure and to take your runners and to win challenges and just make it difficult for Columbus to play, it was fantastic."

On how he feels about four points in two games...

"It's a fantastic start. Obviously, we want to win at home. But four points across two games is a fantastic start to the season."

On the substitutions today, the previous game and Caden Clark making a first start...

"They were great, we are missing a couple of guys, and the mentality of just 'next man up', and those guys came into the last game and did well and I thought they were great to start the game. Again, our guys come into the team and into the starting lineup. They get an opportunity and this is what we said before the game and then the guys that come into the game get an opportunity and everyone has taken their opportunity so far, it's fantastic."

On his outlook on Tani Oluwaseyi's ability to get these opportunities off the bench these last two games...

"I think last year was a real year of growth for him when he went out on loan and did really well in the USL championship. We knew that him coming back this year, he was going to have a significant role to play and he has really taken those opportunities. You know the selflessness that he showed in the last game and just to stick with that play at the end there. It was fantastic and a lot of emotion for him, too, I'm sure that goes into that moment - something that he has been waiting for a long time."

On Dayne St. Clair's save in the 33rd minute and how effective he was today...

"Fantastic, he made some really big plays. We're going to need that. There are going to be times when he's got to step up, whether it is him making saves, guys blocking shots around the box, it takes everyone. To keep that game on 1-0 and give us a chance right until the end to get to the result is huge. He was fantastic."

On the energy that has started the first two games, and the possible dip during the second halves...

"It's hard what these guys are doing. They're putting so much energy into the way they play and it is early in the season. We're seven, eight weeks into playing like this? So one, their fitness will continue to build that resiliency to minutes. I think you see across the league in these first couple of games, there's general fatigue. Even Columbus [Crew] showed a little bit [of fatigue] in the first half, towards the end of the first half. It's difficult, and the guys are working hard and I am just really pleased that they keep putting that effort in every day and every week."

On managing Cucho Hernandez and how he got open to score his goal...

"We said it before the game, it is not about just one player, with them [Columbus] they're so dangerous in the numbers they get forward. When you have to manage multiple threats, their ability to switch the ball from one side to the other, their willingness of their guys to run forward and get numbers in the box, you have your hands full a lot of times. I thought across the board, the guys managed that generally really well."

On Tani Oluwaseyi scoring in the final moments of the game and playing until the final whistle...

"You have to [play until the final whistle]. I think one of the guidelines from the referees this year was that they are going to play all the time and that the time was going to be shown in the stadium. They are going to add time and expect stoppage time to be longer. So for our guys to keep going until that final whistle, to keep believing one more chance, one more chance, was great."

On a lesson to be learned about keeping your foot on the gas no matter what the score is...

"It is an evolution for us. Would we like to keep our foot on the gas all the time? Yes of course we would. I think our ability to do that sort of relied on the guys that came into the game as well to bring that energy. I think when we look at ourselves, that is our mentality. We can't speak to any other teams, but we want to be a team that is on the front foot, that is still being aggressive, you know that if we are up 1-0, we are trying to get that second goal, we are trying to get that next goal and keep pushing the game."

On was this the weather he was expecting

"It is not the weather I have been expecting, all winter it's fantastic, but I mean a beautiful day. Obviously a full house, and a good finish. I just hope that the supporters are going back home happy and proud of the guys on the field"

GOALKEEPER DAYNE ST. CLAIR

On how did you step up with the challenges in the first half...

"I think the way they [Columbus Crew] play their front three is so fluid. They put [our] backline in uncomfortable situations because their front three are so narrow they are willing to send their wingbacks forward very early sometimes...That's why we have to pin them back and play a little bit more direct than what we wanted to but that's what the game needed in the moment.

On if Dayne got a good look on Tani Oluwaseyi's goal..

"....close to the halfway line but of course we had them [Columbus] locked in and of course one of the few plays if the ball bounced out, I wanted to be in an area where I could redeliver. I am definitely happy for him [Tani Oluwaseyi] and definitely something that he deserved."

On Dayne's save in the thirty-third minute

"Cucho obviously makes a good run [while] DJ is trying to call Boxy [Michael Boxall] late on but because DJ calls Boxy, I'm able to check my shoulder and know where he's [Cucho] at. I think I get to a good spot when the ball is about to be hit and then try to make myself as big as possible and it [the ball] just goes off my knee.

On feelings about four points in two games...

"Yeah, I think obviously you want to stay undefeated as long as possible. You want some of those too, you want obviously as many wins as possible though too, but I think you, if you would've taken four points from the first two games, most guys would've said 'yeah'."

On adaptation to this new high press style of play...

"We've won the ball in good areas and created chances off it and I think it's been a nice full commitment from the guys in front to really commit to it [the high press]."

On feelings about the commitment to go 94 minutes and fight towards the final whistle...

"I think it was definitely something that I talked about last week with giving up the late goal after we conceded. Of course we scored in extra time, but I feel like we kind of felt like we had the three points and were happy with that. We kind of got punched in the mouth late by Austin [FC] and they kind of made something of it. The crowd stuck with us the full game as well and we were able to really kind of push in those, especially in those last few minutes. And we rewarded them [the fans] for that".

On his thoughts on Cucho Hernandez' goal and opinion on if he had too much time and space up front...

"It's a transition moment where a lot of guys are trying to get back and then the guy in the back post is open and he makes a good play in laying it off. Then two guys are trying to step into the ball so he kind of hit it through the window where I wasn't really able to get a good vision of it early. But I mean, someone of his class, if you give him enough opportunities, he's going to find the back of the net."

On the back four and on Wil Trapp and Hassani Dotson's defending against Columbus...

"Joe's [Joseph Rosales] played there a little bit in the past, but I think he's adapted very well to the position and we had a lot of comfort from the other guys that played there. We played a lot of games together last year, so we have that connection of knowing each other and I think Joe's done brilliantly and I think the connection between Micky [Miguel Tapias] and Joe being able to speak Spanish to each other obviously helps. Wil's rotations, his leadership and just staying in there and being in the right spot to really kind of help the back line. And I think Boxy [Michael Boxall], especially today, did a great job of stepping in and winning a lot of those balls because their [Columbus Crew] 10's were really dropping and we said that we're going to go and press them. So winning those balls in the midfield really helped put the pressure on the guys in front of them."

On how comfortable he felt playing the ball in the ground more and playing the ball with his feet...

"I think it's something that I was always comfortable with. I think from growing up, the system I played, I was mostly on the ball, but the way Adrian [Heath] asked me to play was a little bit more direct than I personally might have wanted. But, you have to follow what the coach says. So I think I'm very comfortable in this situation and I think it's just continuing to build those connections and be willing in some of those moments to accept that we might lose the ball, but that's going to be okay because that's going to be the style that we're going to play. Similar to Columbus [Crew], I think of course we won the ball in a lot of areas today, but they didn't stop their style because that's what they're willing to live and die by."

FORWARD TANI OLUWASEYI

On scoring the equalizing goal, his teammates not giving him such a hard time...

"I'm used to it at this point, it's year 3. We've been doing the same where you joke around and get along very well. It's a very good locker room. It's good banter, it's good for the soul."

On hitting that goal and getting a point at home.

"I think most importantly is leaving with something, I think we worked hard from the beginning of the game all the way through. We would have felt hard done if we didn't leave here with something. So, to get that goal against the reigning champions felt good and the work we put in all week showed that it paid off for us."

On coming back [to Minnesota] after scoring 17 goals last season with San Antonio FC...

"I think the biggest thing is just the confidence and the game time. The best teacher is just playing. So being able to go there and start 20 games, kind of gave me that confidence and belief that I could do it at a higher level. I made sure that coming into this year I came with that same confidence and that same belief that I could do it at this level as well. So far I know pre-season has gone well and so far it's paying off."

On getting ready for the throw in as the clock is ticking...

"I'm looking at it as Joe is going and it's just ticked down to 94 [minutes], and I keep looking at the ref to make sure he's not moving the whistle to his lips. When I saw that wasn't happening, then I said, okay we're going to get one more, and I just tried to be in a position where either I could hit the ball first time off a clearance or in that case take a touch and go for goal."

On his first thoughts as the keeper came off his line when he had the ball...

"I knew I beat him [Patrick Schulte] to the ball. The next decision in my head was whether or not he would stay behind or if he would run back to his net. As soon as he ran back in the net, the only thing in my mind was to get a shot off and kind of live with the results."

On running sprints after the game

"Yeah, so we usually just do sprints after the game so I'm not exempt regardless of what happens so I joined the guys and just to make sure we're getting our workload in... no passes here"

On the celebration...

"I've gotten quite a hard time from friends in college and these guys about my celebrations, and in that moment it's a mix of, 'oh let's see if we can do something here to kind of finish the game' or if the game will give us some more time and like oh that felt incredible. So, that mix in between was the result of that but the more goals it'll just continue to get better."

On going for the assist rather than for goal last week...

"It's just one of those things that just happens on the fly. If I don't see [Alejandro] Bran there, odds are I'm shooting it. But when I saw Bran there and I knew he was in a better shooting position than I was it just made more sense to play him the ball and knowing hopefully he could get a shot off, and I knew he wasn't going to be offside because he ran from behind me, so I knew he would be clean if I could get the pass off."

On the start Minnesota United FC has had so far...

"A lot of people on the outside probably don't believe in us, but the guys in this locker room from day one, Cam [Cameron Knowles] has done a good job making sure that we're are all bought in and making us realize that the guys who are here are the guys who matter and the opinion that matter are from the guys who are in this locker room, and from the beginning from day one up until today we've always just bought into what Cam has preached and what he has brought into this club and we just continue to build and continue to get better as a team. I think we still have a long way to go and we can definitely get better and there's things we can be better at but so far just guys believing and guys fighting for each other has been the biggest thing for us and we've done a great job so far and hopefully we can keep it going"

On using all five substitutions...

"So far so good. The first game the three subs combined for a goal and in this game I come off the bench and I get a goal. I think that every guy that has come on has been locked in on what the goal is for us, and we've done a good job of coming on and contributing on both sides of the ball and it's worked out so far so hopefully it just continues to go well for the guys coming off the bench."

On his initial reaction to getting sent on loan last season...

"Truth is, no one is ever going to be happy about being told that you're not going to get game time with your parent club, but I quickly switched my mindset on it and for me it was, 'okay, this is your situation now, and the best you can do for yourself is to go there and play to the best of your ability and kind of show what you can do at this level [USL Championship]. After that first game that I had at San Antonio [FC] that I got the goal against [Las] Vegas Lights, that was the moment for me where I was like, 'this is what I'm going to do. For however long I'm here, I'm going to give my all for San Antonio and credit to Alen [Marcina, San Antonio FC Head Coach] and the guys there, they believed in me from day-one and they put me in a position to do what I did last year, and also to be able to bring it over to this year as well."

On his experience playing with Cameron Knowles with MNUFC2...

"Me and Cam [Cameron Knowles] always had a great relationship since I've been at Minnesota United. He's been the second team coach for a couple of years, and he's very honest, he's helped me develop as a player, he's always told me what I've done well and haven't done well. So, bringing that into here [first team], I know that that belief from the second team is still there. From day-one he's told me you're going to get chances, you're going to get opportunities and make sure you take them. I'm grateful for him to continue to give me that opportunity and it's been great so far. He's been great with everyone since he's been here."

On how he celebrated his game-tying goal against Columbus...

"It was just a quick sprint. In my head it was, 'let's see if we can get another goal and see if we can sneak off with a win.' But, Hassani [Dotson] told me, 'Tani there's 10 seconds left, it probably isn't happening.' But in my head, that's kind of what was going through my head at the moment."

On if he thinks he broke Sang Bin Jeong's top speed record set last week during his celebration sprint...

"I think I broke it when I got the ball off of [Patrick] Schulte. But, the sprint was probably a close second."

On his quick decision to get a better angle before he shot the ball towards goal...

"A lot of that is dictated on that first touch, and my first touch was able to put me in that position where I could see where the goal was. And I just said, 'god be with the ball', and it worked out well for me."


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