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 Minnesota United FC

Minnesota United Takes Crucial Points in 5-2 Victory Over LA Galaxy

October 7, 2023 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Minnesota United FC News Release

SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- On the back of a four-goal performance by Finnish forward Teemu Pukki, Minnesota United dominated in a 5-2 victory over the LA Galaxy at Allianz Field on Saturday night.

1': Bongokuhle Hlongwane had the first chance of the night for Minnesota after he connected on a cross from Bakaye Dibassy, but his attempt was saved by LA Galaxy's goalkeeper Jonathan Bond.

10': LA Galaxy had a scoring opportunity in the 10th minute as Tyler Boyd fired a long-range shot on target. Dayne St. Clair dove to punch away the strike.

10': Hlongwane sent a through ball to Emanuel Reynoso who dribbled it inside the box before firing a right-footed shot from a difficult angle to the near post but it was blocked for a corner.

19': Teemu Pukki and Reynoso worked through tight spaces at the top of the LA 18-yard-box, combining passes through the Galaxy defense. Following the string of passes, Pukki was able to get a shot off but Bond made the save.

28': In an attempt at goal, Douglas Costa charged the Minnesota net after settling a cross from Tyler Boyd. St. Clair came off his line and confronted the attack, stifling the chance by Costa to prevent the goal.

30': After earning a free kick in the final third, Reynoso stepped up to take the kick, launching his shot on target and forcing Bond to dive towards the near post, ultimately clearing the Argentine's ball from the goal area.

33': Minnesota opened the scoring with a goal from Hassani Dotson. Pukki challenged Raheem Edwards just above half field, making contact and winning the ball, allowing him to turn upfield and play forward to Hlongwane. The 23-year-old centered his pass to Dotson, who was able to settle and finish the opportunity, scoring the go-ahead goal.

41': The Galaxy intercepted a pass in the center of the pitch, allowing Tyler Boyd to level the score with a solo run towards goal. Boyd placed his shot past St. Clair and into the bottom left corner of the net.

45': Teemu Pukki responded with a goal of his own, putting the Loons on top entering the second half. Reynoso played a lofted ball over top, making Pukki enter a 1v1 with Bond. The Finnish international slotted the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

50': Hlongwane forced Bond to make a big save in the bottom corner of the goal when he released a hard-driven shot on frame with hopes to extend the MNUFC lead.

60': Just 10 minutes later, Pukki doubled Minnesota's lead and secured his brace. Dibassy began the drive dribbling down the touchline and delivered a cross into the goal area. A scramble for the ball ensued at the top of the box. Pukki controlled the ball and turned over it, enabling him to place his shot out of reach from Bond.

67': Emanuel Reynoso took a shot which was blocked by the Galaxy defense. Hlongwane was there to scoop up the loose ball and redistribute it to Teemu Pukki standing alone at the far post. Pukki hit a one-touch shot to notch Minnesota's second-ever hat-trick and put the Loons up 4-1.

76': Once again, Pukki found the back of the net. With time and space, Pukki struck a shot from range following a fast break. His goal broke Minnesota's record for most goals scored in a single game and tied the record for most shots on goal in a single game (5).

82': The Galaxy took one back with a goal from Dejan Joveljic, who hit a shot from close-range following a corner kick.

With the win, Minnesota United sit 11th in Western Conference regular-season standings with a 10-12-11 (W-L-D) record and 41 points.


1-0 MIN - Hassani Dotson, assisted by Bongokuhle Hlongwane (33')

1-1 LA - Tyler Boyd, assisted by Maya Yoshida (41')

2-1 MIN - Teemu Pukki, assisted by Emanuel Reynoso (45')

3-1 MIN - Teemu Pukki, unassisted (60')

4-1 MIN - Teemu Pukki, assisted by Bongokuhle Hlongwane (67')

5-1 MIN - Teemu Pukki, assisted by Franco Fragapane (76')

5-2 LA - Dejan Joveljic, unassisted (82')


Caution, LAG - Maya Yoshida (50')


4 - Finnish international Teemu Pukki became the very first Minnesota United player to score four goals in a single game since the club joined MLS in 2017.

200 - Michael Boxall made his milestone 200th appearance and start with MNUFC across all competitions.

2 in 2 - Hassani Dotson has notched two goals in two matches, scoring the lone goal against LAFC and the opening goal tonight against the LA Galaxy.

9 in 8 - Teemu Pukki recorded his first MLS hat trick - before netting a fourth on the night against the Galaxy - and has now scored 9 goals in 8 matches.




Minnesota United XI: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Bakaye Dibassy, Miguel Tapias, Michael Boxall, Zarek Valentin; M Wil Trapp ©, Jan Gregus, Hassani Dotson, Emanuel Reynoso, Bongokuhle Hlongwane; F Teemu Pukki

Bench: GK Clint Irwin; D DJ Taylor, Devin Padelford, Ethan Bristow; M Jan Gregus, Franco Fragapane; F Mender Garcia, Sang Bin Jeong, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi

LA Galaxy XI: GK Jonathan Bond; D Maya Yoshida ©, Kelvin Leerdam, Raheem Edwards, Tony Alfaro; M Tyler Boyd, Uri Rosell, Edwin Cerrillo, Diego Fagundez; F Douglas Costa, Billy Sharp

Bench: GK Novak Micovic; D Julian Aude, Mauricio Cuevas, Eriq Zavaleta; M Michael Barrios, Daniel Aguirre, Adam Saldana, Jonathan Perez; F Dejan Joveljic



Children's Mercy Park | Kansas City, Kansas

10.21.2023 | MLS 2023 Regular Season | Matchday 38

8:00 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass/1500 ESPN)



On if he [coaching] was the difference all along...

"I thought the plays were fantastic, they really were, and I thought they fed off the atmosphere of the crowd as well. I thought with it being the last home game, and what's gone on previously, especially the mid-week result, I thought we needed to do something, and the plays were excellent."

On the difficulty of keeping emotions in check...

"Yeah, I would say that's the professionalism of the players. They understand they still have a job to do. We called it a two-game season, and we were halfway through that two-game season. I really thought they were excellent and their emotions kinda fed into us being more confident, and we have to embrace that. Obviously I was a little bit disappointed when they equalized because I thought 'Oh no, here we go again', but credit to them, they went and got the second, and then I thought the playing in the second half was really good."

On what the emotions in the last 48 hours have been like...

"Yeah it's tough, and It's been said, the work that Adrian [Heath] has done for the seven seasons he's been here, seven years he's been here, has been phenomenal. It's something that happens sometimes in sports, but we must pay respect to the past and we must reflect on it, and use that as a fuel to try and move forward and I thought the players did really well."

On the message to the players...

"We wanted to get Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] more in the game, and Hassani Dotson does a really good job of finding different spaces, so, it was almost like we were trying to push Hassani [Dotson] more infield and get Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] deeper to get the ball, and I thought with Jan [Gregus] pushing a little bit further forward it allowed Wil [Trapp] then to control possession of the ball in deeper areas. So the unselfish work of Jan [Gregus] and Hassani [Dotson], of movement, to let Wil [Trapp] have position and then to have Rey [Emanuel Reynoso] get on the ball in areas we know he can create, and then I thought obviously the movement of Teemu [Pukki] was outstanding,"

On frustration that it took until the end of the season for the finishing to come through...

"Yeah, and you know there's a lot of data and statistics that prove that with expected goals we were right there in moments in the game where we could have taken more points. That will probably even itself out, and I thought today, for the first twenty minutes, we really controlled and dominated the game. Then when they got back in, I thought Dayne St. Clair made a couple of unbelievable saves. So we can't, not, pay respect to the opposition because Dayne actually did the job of what he's getting paid for, to keep the ball out of the net, and without that, expected goals and that sort of stuff, the reality is you do have to put the ball in the net. At one end we stopped it going in, and the other end, we put the ball in the net, and I am pleased with Teemu [Pukki] as well because we all know what he can do and he's just gone and shown everybody in the last home game that that's something to look forward to."

On small changes that were telling in the game...

"I think it was just tactical of moving the midfield players into different positions and what we thought was going to be a strength of ours in the buildup play. But in respect to Bakaye [Dibassy] and Zarek [Valentin], Bakaye came back from his injury, is doing fantastically well. I would say, you know this football club is probably playing our position of football at left back, but we know that he's played that in the top level in France, so we really trusted him to do the job. And obviously Zarek [Valentin], I have worked with Zarek for a number of years at Portland Timbers, and now he's just so reliable and makes really good decisions, both in defense, and attack."

On his chances for the coaching position in the two game season...

"Well when I was a player I would have loved a two game season every year [laughs], because, in England you used to play 46 and it was really tough, but no, we have to keep the main focus on what's left for the players. They're the ones that have to step over the white line and get the job done. We're all the ones that assist them, and in relation to everybody the scene of the team. The team behind the team. It's been emotional for us in the last couple of days and I would even put the midweek game in, that it's not hard accepting that performance and that result. So for everybody else behind the team to lift themselves up, get themselves going again, and give the support that they needed to give to the players to perform. I thought that was fantastic as well."

On if he spoke to Adrian Heath in the last couple days...

"Yeah, obviously we spoke when the decision was made, I've got a good relationship with him and I will be speaking with him in the next couple days for sure".

On how he will approach the Kansas City game...

"We played a couple years ago in the playoffs and hopefully we get three-nil up in the first half and then everything will be alright again. It's tough because I'm not sure where the results lie in terms of what games are left for that playoff scenario. But what I do know, is if Kansas City has a chance at going for the playoffs they will go all out for it. And the worry for us is if they don't, then that becomes a strength, because they've got nothing to lose. And when you put good players in a position where they have nothing to lose, you have to be careful of not allowing them that freedom, just to see the season out. They've got so many creative plays, you wanna keep them on edge. So we'll have to be very careful, and we'll judge that when we see all the scenarios."

On if he pays attention to those playoff scenarios...

"Yeah, I think you've gotta win, and hopefully do your job. Like I said before in '15 when with the [Portland] Timbers in that last game there were so many different movements. I think a couple years ago when we played in LA, we got in, we thought they were in, Real Salt Lake scored a goal and it knocked them out and it can happen like this, and that's the fantastic thing about playoffs it will come down to the wire for a lot of teams."

On how it felt to hear 'Wonderwall' at the final whistle...

"Yeah, and again we actually spoke about that in the locker room before the game. That when you're in the moment and you think about the past, you usually have regrets. And when you're in the moment and think about the future, which potentially could be, that crowd singing, and the families coming on the field, and the fan appreciation night, it was 'alright what are we're gonna do'? And we focus on the positive element of living in the moment and thinking about the future."


On when the last time he has scored four games in one match...

"Probably my youth. I don't think in a professional career have I scored four... not that I can remember."

On what felt different tonight...

"There was a lot of space and we played really well. I think, in the last games that we had played before this, we had played well, but we hadn't been able to get so many chances. I think today we were creating one after another. We could have scored even more goals."

On what the emotions have been like for him the past 48 hours...

"It's always not easy when there's a change of manager. So, it's always tough. But, we just tried to get a good performance after a change like that, and it worked today. Obviously, this was the game we had to win to keep our [playoffs] chances open, and that's what we did."

On if there have been any other games where he could have scored four or five goals...

"Yeah, but probably not here yet. I've had some chances, but not this many as today. Probably before in my career, I've scored some hattricks, so probably there has been a chance to score more, then."

On his hopes for the team clinching a berth in the playoffs...

"Of course, there's still a chance. For now, my focus will be with the [Finland] national team starting tomorrow. But, after that, there's one last final. The only thing we can do is win that game and see where we come from there."


On how nice it was to finish the home season with a 'Wonderwall'...

"That's what we have been fighting for every week here. It's a combination of luck, or lack thereof, led to this only being the fourth time [winning at home] in league play. Our home form has been disappointing, but the last regular season home game we wanted to send our fans home happy. Even through all those tough games and gut-wrenching results where we've dropped points, they've stuck with us. They have been nothing but supportive. We don't take it for granted. We are super lucky with what we have here."

On the emotions of the last 48 hours...

"It's been crazy. When we found out about Adrian [Heath] - it's part of the game, but that sucks. He's all I've known at this club with him, and I'm super grateful for everything he has done for me. This is the team he built. This [tonight's result] is what we are capable of and he knew that and we just weren't able to produce that on enough occasions this year. When you get a somewhat fragile 18 coming in here [LA Galaxy] and then once they get behind they chase the game and they open up. One of those nights it just worked out for us and obviously delighted we were able to get five goals for the fans - that's a high, but seeing Adrian go, that's a tough one. I've got a lot of respect for him."

On being shocked to hear the news...

"Yeah. The timing... They [the front office] are in those positions to make the tough decisions. You just have to trust it. No matter what is going on outside the white lines, it's still up to us to do our jobs. It makes you think, it's been ten-eleven games where we have either dropped two or one point and if we [were able to] turn around three or four of those games, we [would be] six or seven points better off and maybe we are having a different conversation. I'm super grateful for everything Adrian [Heath] did."

On the quick turnaround in the last few days...

"Earlier on in my career, it happened a lot. The first three clubs I had six or seven coaching changes, so to have some sort of stability the last few years has been quite nice."

On if he talked to Adrian Heath after the news...

"Yes, I talked to him as soon as I found out. Pretty short conversation. I got off the phone with Shari [Ballard] after they made the decision and then I just called Adrian [Heath] to thank him. In a way, it's one man taking the fall... Everyone here is responsible for it. It's not just him kicking the ball around. He has a big say in a lot of things, but in a way, when you have a manager [get] let go, you feel like you've kind of let him down. It's just one of the shitty things about sports."

On facing Kansas City on the road where Minnesota has had a difficult time getting results...

"This is do or die. That's the first time I've had a do-or-die situation since the 2020 playoff game. Off the back of tonight, we need to go there and be solid. For some reason, we've been rushing things all season once we go into the final third, so tonight everyone kind of took that extra touch, everyone had their heads up and found the next man who had a better look. So if we continue that in the final third and just tidy things up and be tough to break down as we have been a lot of the year [we will be fine]. I will go to war with these guys, for sure."

On if he's looked at the playoffs scenarios...

"I haven't looked at the scenarios, but every time I step on the field..I haven't stepped on the field into a game not thinking we're not going to win the game. That's been the attitude all season long and will for sure be it when we go down to Kansas City."

On the team's energy after the coach's change...

"Not really. Sean [McAuley]'s come in and has tried to keep everything as positive as possible. Obviously, he knows the talent we have here in the building. Yesterday we had a training session for about an hour and there's not a whole lot you can really do in that short amount of time. It was the same, more or less, [starting] eleven that Adrian [Heath] would have picked, playing the same way he's been telling us to play most of the year and it just clicked for us against a team that's been looking for a few goals. We just need to carry that momentum into Kansas City."

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