Minnesota United midfielder Robin Lod’s second and final goal Sunday against Real Salt Lake may have seemed insignificant, coming as it did in the 90th minute of a 4-0 victory.
It was lovely, a one-touch shot from 15 yards away — created by Hassani Dotson’s second-touch pass — that curved perfectly around goalkeeper Zac MacMath and just inside the far, left post.
Its meaning came mostly with its ease and positioning, Lod’s naturally dominant left foot sweeping across his body from his starting spot that night on the right side.
Played primarily on the left side since he was acquired last summer, Lod started the past two games before Wednesday night’s home game against Dallas FC on that right side when Ethan Finlay didn’t. Lod played there as a second-half sub in the Loons’ regular-season restart last month, reprising a position he played previously in his career and still does with the Finnish national team.
“It’s a little bit different than playing on the left side,” Lod said. “I’ve had some tough games on the left, had good games on the right. But that doesn’t mean it should be like this. I should play a little better on the left side for sure. It would be nice to play on the right side. It fits my game style really well.”
Lod combines with starting left back Chase Gasper’s long runs when Lod plays that side and does the same when he plays in front of Romain Metanire on the right side. Lod says he and Gasper both “want to get to the same places” because they’re both left-footed.
“He enjoys playing that right side,” Loons coach Adrian Heath said. “He likes coming in with his left foot. The perfect illustration was his second goal, where he lets it come across his body and puts a little bit of bend on it. He’s pretty comfortable all across the front. He’s not really bothered which side he plays. The right side does open the field for him when he gets possession.”
Defensive midfielder Ozzie Alonso (hamstring), midfielders Ethan Finlay (knee meniscus) and strikers Luis Amarilla (ankle) and Aaron Schoenfeld (left lower leg) all remained out Wednesday.
Heath said doctors’ look inside Finlay’s knee “wasn’t as bad as first feared” and is hopeful he’ll miss only three to four weeks. He said he’s hopeful an injection in Amarilla’s ankle will settle down” an injury that has bothered him for five or six weeks. Amarilla and Alonso probably will be out another two to three weeks. Heath reported Schoenfeld is “a lot happier” with his lower-calf injury.
“It’s testing times,” said Heath, whose team also is missing Ike Opara and Tyler Miller. “To come away with two results with half the team that started the season out injured, it’s testament to the group who has stepped up.”
Newcomer Emanuel Reynoso’s presence Wednesday for his third MLS game gives the Loons another option on free and corner kicks to go with Jan Gregus, the team’s specialist in those two.
Reynoso’s left-footed swing curves the ball toward goal from the field’s right side, Gregus’ right foot does it from the left side. Heath said it will take a bit of time to determine who’s best to take what kick from where. Gregus kicked from the right side and Reynoso from the left Wednesday.
• Second-year goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair started his second consecutive MLS game after Sunday’s clean sheet. “He came through very well, made good decisions, kicked it well,” Heath said. “He’ll keep his place.”