It seems as if nothing is going right for Minnesota United FC lately. Two weeks ago, it allowed a late goal against Carolina that produced a tie instead of a victory. Last week, United lost to the last-place team in the league. And Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, things went wrong again — at the worst time.
Keith Savage scored in the 90th minute for Tampa Bay, giving the Rowdies a 3-2 victory after Minnesota had twice come from behind to tie the score.
“We reacted really well at times when we had some adversity, but we didn’t react well enough to get the win,” coach Manny Lagos said.
Both United’s first-string central defenders are out because of injuries, and standout midfielder Aaron Pitchkolan limped off because of a twisted ankle in the first half. United now must face a three-game winless streak, and two games in the next seven days, with a badly shorthanded squad.
Shane Hill gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead just before halftime. United goalkeeper Daryl Sattler came off his line to try to punch the ball clear of danger, but he could get the ball only as far as the feet of Hill, who volleyed it back over the keeper and past two sliding defenders.
“I came and I won the ball — it just didn’t land where we wanted it, and [Hill] capitalized,” Sattler said. “That’s one personally I’d like back.”
Nine minutes after halftime, United tied the score. Midfielder Simone Bracalello danced away from two defenders, then slipped the ball past the pair to a charging Michael Reed, whose sliding shot glanced off Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo’s fingertips into the net.
Moments later, though, Tampa Bay was back in front 2-1. Minnesota defender Justin Davis didn’t react quickly enough to clear a ball just outside his own penalty area, and Luke Mulholland pounced for the Rowdies, lofting a chip over Sattler.
Once again, Minnesota came back, again thanks to Bracalello, its most dangerous offensive player this season. After Pablo Campos won a header, Bracalello took the ball away from two defenders. He blasted a shot underneath Restrepo to equalize again for Minnesota in the 65th minute.
The goal looked as if it would be enough to earn United a tie, but with the game winding down, it was the Rowdies who found the final goal. A cross trickled through the feet of defender Kevin Friedland, and Savage made no mistake, scoring the winner.