Frequent contributor Jon Marthaler has written about virtually every sport in the Twin Cities, and fills in on Saturdays for the RandBall blog on StarTribune.com. He'll cover the professional soccer scene in the Twin Cities, whether at the Metrodome or at the National Sports Center.

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United gets badly-needed win, 3-1 at Fort Lauderdale

Posted by: Jon Marthaler under Soccer Updated: August 10, 2013 - 9:16 PM

Max Griffin and Pablo Campos scored goals for Minnesota, leading United to a 3-1 road win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers - a badly-needed tally in the win column for a Minnesota team that had lost four straight league games.

All four goals in the match came in the final twenty minutes. United opened the scoring in the 73rd minute; both Pablo Campos and Max Griffin managed to get on the right side of their markers, and Campos flicked a Justin Davis cross into Griffin's path for the latter to turn home.

Three minutes later, Minnesota benefited from a stroke of luck, courtesy of the head of Strikers defender Rafael Alves. United keeper Matt Van Oekel blasted a punt to the edge of the Fort Lauderdale penalty area, where a backpedaling Alves attempted to head the ball back to keeper Richard Sanchez, only to see it loop over the goalie, off the post, and into his own net.

Minnesota has struggled to hold leads all season, though. They've also struggled to defend set pieces, so it was no real surprise when Fort Lauderdale scored from a corner, four minutes after the second United goal. Somehow, former Minnesota striker Martin Nuñez found himself all alone at the far post, and he slipped the ball underneath Van Oekel, setting up a tense final ten minutes.

United didn't see the game off until stoppage time, when Pablo Campos controlled a long ball, rounded a defender, and smashed an authoritative shot past Sanchez, who really had no hope of stopping the shot.

Beating a Fort Lauderdale team that hasn't won in three months may not feel impressive, but it puts Minnesota in the win column, someplace they haven't been since beating the Strikers in Minneapolis on June 8.

Notes

  • United captain Brian Kallman was suspended for the match after earning a red card against Atlanta last Saturday, so center back Connor Tobin took the captain's armband. Kevin Venegas made his first start at fullback for the season, in place of Kallman.
  • Aaron Pitchkolan, who played the spring as a defensive midfielder, put in 90 minutes at center back, replacing Cristiano Dias. The move made sense, given that United brought in two more midfielders in the offseason, and had two backup center backs out injured.
  • United plays Tampa Bay next week, and the Rowdies will be without midfielder Luke Mulholland, perhaps the league's best player. Mulholland was sent off near the end of the second half of Tampa Bay's 1-1 draw with New York on Saturday for his second red card.
  • Mike Ambersley made his Minnesota debut, coming on in the 82nd minute for Sinisa Ubiparipovic.

 

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