Ibson’s game-winner pretty much characterized Minnesota United’s result Saturday: It wasn’t really supposed to happen but, luckily for the Loons, it did.
The usually deep-lying midfielder found himself out of position in the box in the 70th minute to redirect a Miguel Ibarra cross. It was actually pretty reminiscent of his first goal for United back in March 17’s victory against the Chicago Fire.
“My instinct was just whip it in. Somebody’s going to be there, and fortunately, it was Ibson again, who I don’t know why he was there again,” Ibarra said. “He said that he didn’t think I saw him. If I would have hit it over him, he would have probably let me have it.
“You don’t really see him in there, so I don’t think defenders really pay attention to him as much,” Ibarra said. “Just glad he was in there.”
That goal secured the Loons’ 2-1 victory against the Houston Dynamo in front of an announced crowd of 21,574 at TCF Bank Stadium, ending a four-game losing skid and turning around a recent pattern of conceding early and not being able to come back. United improved to 3-5-0 while Houston is 2-3-2 and lost for the first time on the road.
“Well, hopefully gives us something to build from,” coach Adrian Heath said of winning the first of a five home games in the next six matches. “Sometimes you get your rewards at different times, and I obviously thought we got a little bit of a reward for some of our play in the last few weeks. Today wasn’t as pretty as I would have liked, especially with the start they got.”
While the Loons were well aware of their problem, having talked and trained ad nauseam to try and correct the theme of falling behind early, they still gave up the first goal. Houston struck in the 10th minute when forward Romell Quioto slid a low cross into the box for forward Alberth Elis to tap in at the back post.
It was a tough play for United’s outside backs, as right back Carter Manley couldn’t keep up with Quioto and left Jerome Thiesson lost track of Elis in the box.
United struggled specifically in the first half with creating a huge hole in the midfield that gave Houston a lot of space to move the ball, with holding midfielders Rasmus Schuller and Ibson sitting back with the back line and playmaker Darwin Quintero playing up with the attack.
Despite that, though, United did manage an equalizer before halftime. Quintero created a chance in the box, forcing Houston defender Alejandro Fuenmayor to commit an obvious handball. Quintero then stepped up to take the penalty kick and sent it top corner, scoring his first goal in front of his new home crowd and celebrating with a cartwheel and a dab.
Quintero is a new penalty kick taker for the Loons, with Kevin Molino out because of an ACL injury.
Ibson’s goal made the difference, but it didn’t solve all the Loons’ problems.
“It’s a big boost,” goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said of the three points. “We haven’t started the season great, and I think there’s been some good performances, and we’ve played well at times and played poorly at times.
“So I think this is a good step forward for us. But it’s just first step. And we do have a bunch at home here, and it’s important for us if we want to make a playoff push here, we have got to make this place a fortress, and we’ve got to pick up points at home.”