Minnesota United's Leagues Cup run ended Friday with a resounding 5-0 quarterfinal loss at Nashville.

Crossing passes rained all night against outnumbered and outmuscled Loons defenders who surrendered two goals before halftime and three more in nine minutes after it.

The Loons started the game without suspended midfielder Hassani Dotson. Then they played with 10 men after right-back DJ Taylor was called for a red-card foul in the 34th minute.

Nashville took advantage, scoring twice within five minutes before halftime by cleaning up crossing passes from the left wing that the Loons couldn't clear or contain.

Afterward, Loons coach Adrian Heath said he hadn't seen a replay, but said he was told the red-card call was "a little bit soft."

"I will say the sending off did not affect the way we defended at times," Heath said. "Our defending was so poor at times. I don't think they had to work hard enough for their goals. As I said to the players, I can't excuse that."

The Loons had reached the quarterfinals of the inaugural tournament featuring all 47 clubs in Major League Soccer and Mexico's Liga MX by advancing out of their three-team group. They beat Mexican side Puebla 4-0 despite playing a man down and lost to MLS' Chicago Fire.

In knockout-round play, they dispatched MLS foe Columbus and Deportivo Toluca in penalty-kick shootouts.

"It has been a difficult evening for us," Heath said. "Tonight was a bad night at the office in terms of our defensive unit. When I look back at what we've done these last four, five games, I have a lot of optimism for the rest of the season."

By losing Friday, the Loons will miss out on more tournament prize money and one of three 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup spots. They don't play again until they resume their regular season at New York City FC on Aug. 20.

Heath subbed veteran defender Zarek Valentin into the game for attacker Franco Fragapane soon after Taylor was ejected in the 34th minute.

Three minutes after Valentin came on, Nashville defender Shaq Moore scored the game's first goal, in the 39th minute. He finished attacker Jacob Shaffelburg's cross that went through star teammate Hany Mukhtar to Moore at the right back post.

Prior Lake's Teal Bunbury sent Nashville into halftime with a 2-0 lead when he scored in the 44th minute.

The second Nashville goal came from another Shaffelburg cross lofted toward the right post. The Loons had three chances to play the ball away, but couldn't do it before Bunbury kicked out his right foot and directed a bouncing ball past Loons keeper Dayne St. Clair from six yards out.

Heath praised Nashville's ball movement from side to side and its attack in open space. He also said "there wasn't much in the game" for either team until Taylor's red card.

"The sending off made a difference to the game," Nashville SC coach Gary Smith said. "But we've been on the receiving end of that in previous weeks. ... We took full advantage of that."

Smith termed those two quick first-half goals like this: "The guys went for the jugular early. That made the night an enjoyable one. It was a very professional performance in the end."

Shortly after halftime, Nashville scored three more goals, in the 50th, 53rd and 59th minutes. Winger Alex Muyl, former Nottingham Forest forward Sam Surridge and 2022 MLS MVP Mukhtar scored them.

"Of course the red card played a big role," Mukhtar said. "But even with one man up, we had to play like we did."

Dotson was suspended for Friday's game after he received two yellow cards in Tuesday's home game against Toluca.

Heath called Dotson's absencea "disappointment" and compensated for it by moving makeshift left back Joseph Rosales into Dotson's midfielder spot alongside Wil Trapp. That opened a left-back spot and first MLS start for Ethan Bristow, who played just his third game in his arrival from England's fourth-division League Two.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.