Minnesota United FC got probably its biggest victory of the season Saturday night, and it came in dramatic fashion.
Daniel Mendes scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give the Loons a 2-1 road victory over the first-place Ottawa Fury before nearly 7,000 fans at TD Place.
The Fury (7-1-1 in fall season) had a 12-match unbeaten streak going back to the spring season ended.
Christian Ramirez gave United (3-2-3) a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute with his seventh goal in seven matches — one shy of the NASL record for goals in consecutive games.
“He keeps finding new ways to score,” Loons coach Manny Lagos said. “He really set the tone for the game.”
But the Loons, as they have so often this season, gave up a late tying goal. This time Andrew Wiedeman, after a failed clearing attempt, scored in the 73rd minute for Ottawa.
It looked as if United would have to settle for a tie until Mendes’ goal on a 25-yard free kick. His shot into the upper right corner caromed off the post.
“Getting back in the win column was huge,” Lagos said. “We played well against a team who was on a great run, and had to grind out a late win.”
Ottawa still has a five-point lead over Atlanta (19 to 14 points) in the fall race; the Loons have 12.
• The Gophers women’s soccer team crushed Drake 8-0 at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in an exhibition match. Sophomore Sydney Squires scored three goals.
• Former Gophers softball player Kaitlyn Richardson was named to the All-National Pro Fastpitch league team as a rookie. The first baseman played for the Dallas Charge.
• The St. Paul Saints edged host Joplin 3-2 despite a franchise record 17 strikeouts and a season-high four errors. Alonzo Harris hit a solo homer and Dan Kaczrowski had a single in the eighth to drive in the winning run. The victory was the Saints’ 60th of the season, one shy of another franchise record.
• Former Minnesota Duluth men’s hockey assistant Brett Larson is returning to the same position after four years.