The last time Minnesota United played a home opener in the snow, they lost their very first home game 6-1 six years ago.
It's a game Loons coach Adrian Heath hasn't forgotten, for all the wrong reasons.
On Saturday, his club slipped — literally, often — out of Allianz Field after a 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls in the March night cold and snow.
New York Red Bulls defender Andres Reyes countered the Loons' Bongokuhle Hlongwane's 18th-minute goal with the equalizer in the 48th minute.
Each team left with a point on a night when both coaches complained about the amount of snow on the field, even after a steady late-afternoon snowfall stopped well before the opening kick.
Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber commented how they keep snow off the field back home in Austria while Heath was none the happier, either.
"I was disappointed there was so much snow on the field," Heath said afterward.
Struber said the snow on the field and the playing conditions were "unprofessional" and not up to MLS standards.
"On this level, I absolutely don't understand it," Struber said. "I have a completely different expectation how this should play in this league, at this level."
Groundskeepers used leaf blowers to clear snow from inside the 18-yard penalty boxes and from the midfield, side and end lines as game time approached.
By opening kick, the snow – slushy and wet only an hour before – had mostly dissipated, but the field remained slippery, particularly in areas where snow remained.
It was 30 degrees at kickoff and they played with an orange ball to distinguish it from the usual game ball, which is mostly white.
Hlongwane grew up in the heat and humidity of South Africa. He was asked if he'd ever played in conditions like Saturday's.
"No, it's my first time," he said. "I wasn't happy, but I played. It is my job so I have to respect it."
He said teammates D.J. Taylor and Franco Fragapane tried to warn him about what was coming.
"I thought I was ready until I saw the field and then I was, `No, no, no, no.' Fraga asked me, `Did you check the weather.' No, I didn't."
He was asked what was worse, the cold or the snow.
"Everything," Hlongwane said. "I say everything."
Heath had urged his players in the days leading to Saturday's game to wear what he called "proper" footwear. To an old-school Englishman, that means metal studs rather what Heath termed plastic "slippers."
Loons starting left back Kemar Lawrence wore contrasting orange shoes while starting goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair wore metal studs on his feet and latex medical gloves under his keepers' gloves to keep his hands warmer.
Hlongwane scored that 18th-minute goal for an early 1-0 lead, but his team really never found its footing until after halftime when they played toward Allianz Field's south end that had less snow on it than the north end.
The Loons had their chances and then some in the final 20 minutes, but never found that second goal.
They now have started the season 1-0-1 for four points after winning 1-0 at FC Dallas in their season opener two weeks ago. They played Red Bulls to a draw Saturday after an unusually early bye last week.
"Before the season started, would we have settled for four points?" Heath said. "Probably, so it has been a good start."
Hlongwane celebrated his first goal in the season's second game after he went 17 games in all competitions last year before he scored his first goal, in late July.
He did so with a dance he said he saw two small boys do at a MNUFC2 game last summer. Best described, it looks like some kind of strutting bird. He said he took a photograph and posted it on his social media.
"I don't have a name for it," he said. "I just do it because I like it."
Reyes' tying goal just after halftime came much like Hlongwane's had, off a corner kick. It was the Red Bulls' first goal in three games this season.
Hlongwane's goal came off Fragapane's kick from the left corner, Reyes scored on John Tolkin's kick from the right corner.
Reyes simply rose above the crowd at the six-yard box's edge and flicked the ball on with his head toward the goal's far left corner. It went beyond Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair's outstretched arms.
"I thought it was a poor goal to concede," Heath said. "Reyes is 6-2, 6-3 and they get a free header in the six-yard box."
Saturday's draw was a long way from the thumping in 2017 from fellow expansion team Atlanta United in that home opener at TCF Bank Stadium.
Atlanta's Josef Martinez scored three times and Miguel Almiron twice as snow fell hard.
"I do remember," Heath said before Saturday's game. "Every time I think back to that game, I find it ironic that we had Scandinavians who couldn't stand up and they had about seven South Americans who were dancing on the snow."
With suspended midfield star Emanuel Reynoso still back home, fellow Argentinian Fragapane becomes the designated to corner-kick and other set-piece kick taker. The Loons were outdone 9-0 in corner kicks during their season opener at FC Dallas two weeks ago and didn't take their first of the season until Saturday's 18th minute.
That's when Hlongwane scored the game's first goal — on the Loons first corner kick of the season.
Fragapane delivered service from the left corner and recently acquired left center-back Miguel Tapias headed a ball that Red Bulls keeper Carlos Coronel stopped. But the ball came down straight to Hlongwane's feet and he swept it past Coronel with his right foot for his third career goal with the Loons.
Hlongwane ran back toward Fragapane in that left corner while teammates followed, mobbing him. Veteran defender Michael Boxall followed, too, kicking snow in the air like a little kid.
Hlongwane (hamstring) and defensive midfielder Wil Trapp (ribs) started even though they had been limited in training in the week leading to Saturday's game.
On Friday, Heath praised Fragapane's recent form.
"He has been sharp these last couple weeks and sharp in training," Heath said. "Hopefully, he can take that into the weekend because he does give us a spark when he's at his best and he looks dangerous. He looks like a goal in him and he looks like he can create something as well, which is what you want from your wide players."
Fragapane again started as a left attacker, with versatile Robin Lod in the middle, Bongokuhle on the right wing and Garcia up top for Luis Amarilla.
Amarilla missed the season opener two weeks ago at Dallas because he was home getting his U.S. work green card and couldn't get to Dallas by that weekend.
Amarilla subbed into the game for Garcia in the 65th minute.