Minnesota United won a club-record sixth road game in a season with Sunday's 2-1 victory at Nashville SC.
Recently acquired right back Alan Benitez's tie-breaking goal in the 75th minute stood as the winner on a night when the Loons also scored multiple goals for a fifth consecutive road game.
A week earlier, Loons coach Adrian Heath fumed because his team allowed four goals in consecutive games, including a 4-3 loss at Colorado that ended a seven-game unbeaten streak.
On Sunday, he praised his team for withstanding the pressure from a Nashville team that sent scorer Hany Mukhtar and defender Walker Zimmerman to the MLS All-Star Game in which Heath coached both at Allianz Field.
He noted his team held Nashville to a single goal even though he called them one of MLS' hardest teams to defend because of how they attack the 18-yard box in various ways.
The Loons did so on a night they welcomed back three starters — star playmaker Emanuel Reynoso, defender Michael Boxall and versatile Robin Lod — after each was suspended for last week's disappointing 4-3 loss at Colorado.
"I'm delighted. This might be the best win on the road this season because I knew this was going to be really tough this evening," Heath said. "To come out with three points is really massive for us."
The Loons are now 11-9-5 — 6-6-1 on the road and 5-3-4 at home — while they remain in fourth place in the Western Conference.
"We came in with the mindset that we can win anywhere and we can beat anyone," Loons goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair said. "We know the West is real tight so even though these games are away, we need to find ways to get points in these games. We'll continue to do so because it's so tight right now. Every point is going to be valuable."
St. Clair stopped seven of Nashville's eight shots on target after he and his defense allowed four goals in each of its previous two games, including that loss at Colorado.
Sunday's game came after his 30 minutes played at the MLS All-Star Game in St. Paul won him its MVP award — and maybe wiped away memories of the Colorado game Heath suggested might have been St. Clair's worst as a Loon.
"I wouldn't go as far as say re-finding his form," Heath said, repeating a questioner's phrase. "I'd say he had had one bad game. When you're a goalkeeper that can happen. I thought midweek [MLS All-Star Game] was huge for him."
The teams traded goals with the Loons' Franco Fragapane scoring in the 27th minute and Mukhtar following in the 61st minute before Benitez scored his first goal in his fourth MLS appearance.
He scored cleaning up at the far post from right back after he had pushed far forward, following Reynoso with the ball on the left side.
Reynoso pushed it forward for second-half substitute Joseph Rosales, who had just entered the game for Fragapane.
Rosales' cross went all the way through the box to Benitez just after the Loons used the substitution to switch from their usual 4-2-3-1 formation to a 4-3-3.
"He was very smart, broke forward at the right time, put a good ball across the face," Heath said about Rosales. "For a 21-year-old kid, he has a lot of maturity. He gets the game. He does as he's told. He goes and plays the role that the coach asks for him. We're really pleased with him."
Benitez calmly finished the play as the last man left after Rosales' cross bounced past everybody else in the box.
"My Spanish isn't great," St. Clair said about Benitez's adjustment to a new land and new league in a short time. "That's definitely one of the challenges there. It's just been show him and talk to him as much as we can with translations from some other guys. I thought he did a great job tonight."
Heath called Benitez better defensively than he was at Colorado and always dangerous offensively.
"His natural instinct is to go forward," Heath said. "Everything we watched of him in Paraguay was in the attacking third. He wants to play in that attacking third and he did well. Maybe ideally I would have wanted him with the back four and not the back post. But after he scores, you go, 'Well done, great decision.' "
Reynoso, Lod and Boxall all returned to the starting 11 after last week's suspensions for yellow card accumulation.
Lod returned to the central midfield spot he has played recently, alongside Kervin Arriaga, who returned to Sunday's starting lineup from an ankle injury that limited him to one game since late June. Rosales and Nabi Kibunguchy played there in their absence last week. Defensive midfielder Wil Trapp remained out injured Sunday.
Nashville SC played without Prior Lake's own Teal Bunbury, who had scored in each of his last four games but missed Sunday's game because of a groin injury sustained in Saturday's training.
The Star Tribune did not travel for this game. This article was written using the television broadcast and video interviews before and/or after the game.