Minnesota United FC’s run in the U.S. Open Cup is over before it could even get started. The Des Moines Menace knocked United out of the cup Tuesday evening with a 1-0 victory at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium.
Defender Brandon Fricke headed home a corner in the 86th minute, shocking the 1,009 United fans who braved the evening rain.
Much of the fun of the U.S. Open Cup comes from the potential for a team to spring an upset on a team in a higher league. The winner on Tuesday earned a trip to Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer next week, a prize that Minnesota, in the second-division NASL, had coveted.
Unfortunately for United, it will be Des Moines, a fourth division team, with a chance for a second consecutive upset next Tuesday.
“This is a low I think the team hasn’t felt in years,” United coach Manny Lagos said. “The reality is that we can’t get much lower than what happened today. If we can’t wake up tomorrow and assess some stuff about what needs to be done, that’s an issue for us.“
Minnesota played a mostly full-strength side, with only four players that have yet to start a league game this season. Brent Kallman, a Woodbury native, made his professional debut for his hometown team, but the remainder of the United starting lineup was regular first-team players, including last year’s NASL MVP, Pablo Campos.
Campos had a number of good scoring chances for United. In the 16th minute, a cross from Miguel Ibarra found Campos alone in front of the goal, but his header was straight at Des Moines goalkeeper Scott Angevine.
Fifteen minutes later, Campos found himself with space again, but Angevine tipped away his attempt to bend a shot inside the post.
Campos led the United attack in the second half as well. In the 78th minute, he chested down a ball in the Des Moines penalty area. A challenge from a defender caused him to stumble, but he recovered his footing long enough to drive a shot that went just inches over the top of the goal.
Just four minutes from the end of the game, though, it was the Menace which finally struck. Jimmy Tulloch swung a corner kick for Des Moines, and Fricke rose highest to head past a diving Matt Van Oekel for the game-winner.