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 Minnesota United FC

MNUFC Topples Atlanta in 2-1 Road Victory

May 4, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Minnesota United FC News Release

ATLANTA, GA. -- Goals from Kervin Arriaga and Tani Oluwaseyi helped seal a 2-1 victory over Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night, ultimately propelling Minnesota United to the top of the Western Conference table. The Loons look to extend their current win streak when they return home to face LA Galaxy on Wednesday, May 15 at Allianz Stadium.

8' - Minnesota United had their first chance on goal after defender Devin Padelford gained possession on the left flank and cut back to the inside of the pitch where he laid it off to midfielder Robin Lod. Lod, near the 18-yard box, fired off a shot that was deflected out of bounds by Atlanta United FC goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

32' - Atlanta United had a dangerous counterattack pushing up the pitch into Minnesota's defensive third, finding Thiago Almada on the left side of the pitch. Almada sent a through ball to Saba Lobjanidze, where he found himself one-on-one with Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair. Lobjanidze touched it past St. Clair, but was called offside by the referee.

35' - Tani Oluwaseyi nearly capitalized on an open goal after Atlanta defender Abram collided with Guzan, knocking themselves both to the ground. The ball deflected off the collision to Oluwaseyi feet where he fired a shot off that was aimed straight at Guzan, where he saved the shot.

37' - Dayne St. Clair saved a dangerous diving header to goal inside the six-yard box by Atlanta forward Giorgos Giakoumakis. Giakoumakis' header bounced one time before St. Clair tipped it over the crossbar.

48' - Three minutes into the second half, midfielder Sang Bin Jeong almost scored the opening goal of the match after running onto a long throw-in that was tipped off an Atlanta defender, Sang Bin dribbled into the box, taking a shot from the right flank that was touched over by Guzan.

53' - Minnesota United scored the first goal of the match. Joseph Rosales took a corner kick and served it into the box, finding his wide-open Honduran teammate, Kervin Arriaga, who then sent a header into the net to give the Loons the 1-0 lead.

60' - MNUFC's high press earned them another goal after Carlos Harvey caused Atlanta to turn the ball over in the midfield, giving the ball to Oluwaseyi for a long shot on goal that found the back right corner to extend the lead to 2-0.

82' - Atlanta United found themselves on the scoreboard after a challenge in the midfield favored ATL, forcing the ball free in Minnesota's half. Daniel Ríos ran onto the free ball and took space up the pitch before laying it off to Saba for a shot inside the 18-yard box, finding the far corner.

90' +1' - ATL nearly equalized the score after Bartosz Slisz served the ball inside from on top of the box. Giakoumakis inside the box headed the ball to goal that bounced off the crossbar and back into play but was cleared out by Minnesota.


1-0 MIN - Kervin Arriaga (Joseph Rosales) - 53'

2-0 MIN - Tani Oluwaseyi (Carlos Harvey) - 60'

2-1 ATL - Saba Lobjanidze (Daniel Rios) - 82'


ATL - Luis Abram (caution) - 19'

MIN - Kervin Arriaga (caution) - 90'+8'


4 - The win over Atlanta United was MNUFC's fourth victory on the road this season, which is tied for the most road wins across MLS. FC Cincinnati is the only other club with four or more road victories so far in 2024 regular-season action.

20 - Minnesota United continues the club's best start in their MLS history through 10 matches with 20 points earned following the win at Atlanta.

2 - Forward Tani Oluwaseyi scored the second goal of the night against Atlanta United, his second goal in back-to-back games.


Minnesota United XI: GK Dayne St. Clair; D Devin Padelford, Miguel Tapias, Michael Boxall ©, Kervin Arriaga, DJ Taylor; M Joseph Rosales, Wil Trapp, Robin Lod; F Tani Oluwaseyi, Sang Bin Jeong

Bench: GK Alec Smir; D Zarek Valentin; M Alejandro Bran, Franco Fragapane, Carlos Harvey, Caden Clark; F Teemu Pukki, Bongokuhle Hlongwane

Atlanta United XI: GK Brad Guzan; D Caleb Wiley, Luis Abram ,Noah Cobb, Brooks Lennon; M Tristan Muyumba, Bartosz Slisz, Saba Lobjanidze, Thiago Almada, Edwin Mosquera; F Giorgos Giakoumakis

Bench: GK Quentin Westberg; D Efrain Morales, Ronald Hernández, Stian Gregersen; M Jay Fortune, Dax McCarty, Nicolas Firmino; F Tyler Wolff, Daniel Ríos





Allians Field | Saint Paul, Minnesota

05.15.24 | MLS 2024 Regular Season | Matchday 13

7:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass/1500 ESPN)



On your initial thoughts on tonight's match...

"It's an incredibly tough place to come [Atlanta] and play against a team [Atlanta United] like that, you realize that from the second you're in the stadium it's going to be a tough game. The pitch feels very big, it's artificial turf but well-watered, very quick. You really have a sense of the game that you will really have to enjoy the defensive element and you will really have to grind and we did. I think largely we were relatively comfortable, I would suggest it's probably one of those when you look back it's more comfortable than what might have appeared on the touch-line in the heat of the moment. I think for the large majority aside from the inevitable pressure that comes as a consequence of the atmosphere and intensity at the end, I think it was a very complete performance. In this context, I'll caveat that because I don't think I had any expectation that we would come here and dominate the ball because that is what they do best, that's what they've done to a large majority of the teams they've played over the course of the season. The game panned out as I expected it to as we wanted it to. We were really disappointed with the goal that we've conceded because it's a component of the game that we've really worked hard on and we were really good at over the course of at least an hour or so but I think as fatigue set in, we got a bit loose in moments that lead to the goal which is disappointing. Other than that it was really complete and it was a really nice pace for us to have when you come to a place like this. We can restrict the very good opposition to very few quality chances and we can be a real threat on the counterattack and we can be a real threat on set set plays. I'm really pleased and obviously the players are, so we're in a really good place.

On how he felt the team handled the last 15 minutes of the match...

"First and foremost, they have a phenomenal mentality, there is a real will to win, there is a real will to put bodies on the line, defend and make life very difficult for the opposition in front of goal. I think you've seen that over the course of all the games we've played largely since I've been here, minus probably the Philadelphia [game] where we restrict the opposition to very few clean cut chances. That comes with the consequence of organization, discipline, but most of all, mentality, the will to run, and a real will to win. I think we saw in the closing stages that the substitutions had an impact on that. Again, that wasn't a pretty way to close a game but if you were to watch back in most moments, we were very well connected, we were very much together, the front players really made sure they stayed in touch with the remainder of our defensive block. We were really happy with the impact that all of those guys made and that's something we've demanded that if you're coming on to close the game out, you are coming on to bring real energy and intensity. I think the guys did that. I know that those who sort of slogged away for an hour and more, prior to the subs being made, would have really appreciated the impact that they made."

On his thoughts on what has been working on set plays...

"We obviously do a solid amount of work around those situations. There's a reasonable level of detail to each of the goals we scored but I will say, you can't look past a very good delivery and a real intent to score. We've got that across a couple of players in both of those components in those situations. We will be a team I'm sure that will create a lot of chaos in those situations and take it when you come to places like this when you know you are going to be on the back foot in terms of volume in possession that you have. You need to make sure in those moments you can really make it count and we have done. That's a big part of today's win."

On his decision to take off Robin Lod at halftime...

"A slight niggle, we wanted to be really cautious with Robin [Lod], obviously he's a really important player and we didn't want to put him in a position where seemingly something fairly minor which it was in the second half. As you well know, I'm always looking at these opportunities as a chance to see someone play and perhaps add another string to their bow in terms of position. Obviously Carlos [Harvey] comes on and plays the longest appearance he's had for us so far and really contributes to us winning, there's always a silver lining in those situations and we're hoping it's not too serious.

On what stood out about Carlos Harvey in the counter attack...

"Carlos [Harvey] is very strong, he's imposing. In situations like that, he's a really useful introduction and won a lot of second balls for us and he's very strong one-on-one when he's carrying balls. I think it was a nice change that he obviously added, so another step forward in that sense."

On Kervin Arriaga scoring just days after welcoming a newborn child into his family...

"I think [it was] a phenomenal effort from him [Kervin Arriaga], I've got to say. I was really pleased because number one, the commitment to come and play is really not easy. I would have understood it both ways if he had decided not to. But, on top of the goal, [he had] a really strong performance. I think you probably picked up towards the end of the game the fact that his rhythm has been disrupted this week in terms of the fatigue and what he's involved with at the moment - at least the goal, you can't fault him. It was a phenomenal performance, a real impact on the particular set play. The contribution goes well beyond there."

On what has led to the early success on the road...

"We don't prepare for the games away from home any different from the way in which we prepare for at home. We try and be as thorough as we can. We try and make sure that the players are in as good a physical condition as they can possibly be going into these situations. We try and take each game for what it is and we know that in a lot of cases - this one in particular - when you come away, there's a certain type of performance required. We have managed to produce those [results] consecutively. That's huge for us. It's a really good default to have. Albeit, yes, we'd love to be a team that's more dominant with the ball in these types of situations, but we're pragmatic and realistic enough, almost to know what we need to be when we come to these places."

On Dayne St. Clair's performance...

"When Dayne's [St. Clair] been called upon, he's made big saves. I actually showed in the build-up to the game, in front of the players, Dayne's big save at Charlotte [FC] because the outfield players get a lot of credit for the way in which in recent weeks restricted space, stopped shots, stayed together and remained compact. But, we're always going to need, particularly when it comes to places like this [Mercedes-Benz Stadium], our goalkeeper to make big saves. And he made a couple of really big ones. He's a relentless presence, big voice, big personality and you need to show big personality when you come to a place like this. He really played this well."

On items that the team prepared for in training or from video that played out in tonight's match...

"Without giving the specifics away, we wanted to defend in a certain way, we wanted to, from top to bottom, be very compact and we don't want to give the opposition much space between the lines today. The necessity to beat that team is heightened by the fact that in [Thiego] Almada, they've [Atlanta United] got a player they can use in any space that they give him. We had a very specific plan as to how we would deal with that, what could be needed where at what point and what spaces we needed to make sure we restricted. That partly fed into how we selected the eleven to start the game. We're also very conscious as to how it's no secret they play a load of chances on their right hand side - very fluid. That weighed into how we picked the team and who played where. Without giving the specifics, it was a little bit of that."

On Dayne St. Clair's long-ball passes and how that might have been a tactical strategy...

"Yeah, of course. We didn't want to give anything cheap away to the opposition here [at Atlanta United]; they're a good pressing team, they're very well organized, very disciplined. They've got a really good change of pace and rhythm when they press. We wanted to make sure that we, in the opening stages, took that element of the game away from them. And largely it worked, other than their first goal as a consequence of us playing low and us not being set to deal with what happens after the ball drops and then they obviously have a load of space to break into. That's a consequence of us being tired, being loose as the game goes on. We need to get better in those senses. We are going to be a team that can do a variety of things when the goalkeeper's got the ball. Yes, there will be points where we'll build in a much cleaner way, in a much more controlled way, but there will also be moments where we recognize the game for what it is, meet the conditions that were brought in front of you and make sure that in the early stages of the game when you take away one fundamental element of which they want to play."


On defending in the last 15 minutes of the game...

"It's just helping everyone get up and fight, to be honest. You see a lot of guys on different plays that are required to do a lot of running. For example, Wil Trapp tracking Thiago Almada across the field or Devin [Padelford] chasing him from behind. It's just about helping the next guy pick up and keeping everyone concentrating. Keeping that belief that even though we are suffering we are going to get these three points and this defensive effort we are putting in is going to work out."

On the key to the team's road success...

"It's our chemistry. The togetherness of what we are doing with our roles. Everyone knows we have to be aggressive and win these battles. Being able to play this way with a back five is really nice because we be a lot more aggressive in defending and winning the ball higher up the pitch. As long as we are all committed and we keep on that schedule and keep going. That's been helping us have huge success - just everyone helping the guy beside them and doing what they need to do in certain situations."

On playing next to Kervin Arriaga on the back five...

"It's been great. You guys know how we plays, he's very passionate, but it's been great. Especially since I speak Spanish, it helps me communicate with him and it's been great with him. It's been a joy to see him in that role and we all know he can defend very well from when he played in midfield. And for him being at centerback he just has more time to pick out passes and it's been going well. I love how he is adjusting to it and for us as a team it's been crucial to have him there."

On what Kervin Arriaga has shared about his busy week with the birth of his son and now scoring a goal...

"He's just been trying to catch up on sleep. Everyone has been teasing him about that and teasing Joseph [Rosales] about letting him get some sleep at the hotel yesterday. He's very happy, you can see it in his eyes. Him being a dad. We are all excited for him and glad he got to score today for his baby."

On reactions to when Kervin Arriaga is exchanging words with the referee...

"I am used to it now. He's very passionate and when the referee makes a bad call he is going to say something. And once he gets a yellow it's like 'ok time to watch out' and keep him controlled and not let his passion get too crazy. I'll even go talk to the referee if he gets a yellow."

On what Atlanta's attack did tonight...

"They are very direct. They also have fluid movements between the wings and the midfield. At times that was tough to deal with and I was really impressed with that switching from their left to the right and finding Brooks Lennon in different pockets. We handled it very well defensively and we kept our shape. That was the toughest thing we had to do tonight."

On winning aerial duels and thoughts on the foul at the end of the game...

"I think it was definitely a bad whistle. I barely did anything. But I take a lot of pride in [winning aerial battles], especially away from home. MLS games are about just fighting and being aggressive and you have to take pride in it. You not winning that ball could lead to a goal and obviously for me being a little shorter, I definitely have been practicing creating contact and jumping earlier. It's been a great experience, especially today taking three points.

On playing on turf...

"I think in general it's difficult. It's more painful for the body as more injuries happen and guys are feeling worse after the games and during games. The good thing here in Atlanta is they water the turf a lot so the ball moves nicely. Other than that it's more about the mechanics of running and planting the feet; it just takes a bigger toll on the body."

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