Oasis’ “Wonderwall” blared through TCF Bank Stadium’s speakers as Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath led his players to the supporters’ section, clapping for the 17,728 fans in attendance for United’s first Major League Soccer victory.
Justin Davis took it a step farther, honoring yet another tradition from the North American Soccer League days of going into the stands and chugging a beer with the fans.
“That was the first win in quite some months, so it was nice to do it again,” Davis said. “I got some in my eyes, so they’re burning right now. But it’ good to keep that going. See if there’s a fine.”
United claimed its first three points as an MLS club with a 4-2 victory over Real Salt Lake. Usually, United (1-3-1) is on the other side of that kind of score line, as it has given up 20 goals in five matches.
But the Loons managed to come back from yet another quick opening goal — when former NSC Minnesota Stars player Luke Mulholland took advantage of a botched clearance from center back Francisco Calvo in the fourth minute — to take down Salt Lake (0-3-2), which fired its coach three matches into the season and still had an interim manager on the bench for this one.
United came back in the 16th minute off midfielder Kevin Molino’s header, his first goal from open play.
Forward Christian Ramirez — who had a sleepless night Friday because of a stomach flu — then added his first score in the 52nd minute before capitalizing on a bobble from Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the 62nd for his second.
Midfielder Johan Venegas added another goal in the 68th, sucking his thumb in celebration to honor his new son.
Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute, and that kept United coach Adrian Heath from celebrating too early.
Asked when he knew the result was in hand, Heath said: “When they blew the whistle. No, I’m serious because when they scored that next goal, you know what it’s like.
“And I thought, ‘Please, God, not another one of these.’
“It was a relief,” Heath said. “And everybody can maybe calm down a little bit.”
The Loons offense, whose accomplishments have been largely overshadowed by an abysmal defense, shined, especially after Salt Lake went down to one center back when Aaron Maund left in the 13th minute because of injury.
“It was sort of makeshift for them once the injury happened,” Ramirez said. “Little misunderstandings of certain areas that I was trying to read.”
While United’s defense still wasn’t perfect, it looked much better than previous matches during which the Loons have allowed five or more goals. And the offense showed scintillating combination play from Molino, Venegas and Ramirez, who all earned rightly spots on the stat sheet.
But Ramirez said it was the fans — not quite as many as the 35,043 at the home opener — that really produced this win.
“It was surreal,” Ramirez said. “I don’t think anybody wanted to leave. The whole crowd was just standing.
“And to be honest, it’s one of the loudest places I’ve ever played at. From the first minute to the last and even after the game, you can just feel the energy from the crowd.
“I think they almost shut the power down at one point, the lights flickered and both screens went black.”