Well the Loons managed to only make me and the simulation software look like a little bit of an idiot this week, drawing with a bad Philadelphia Union team instead of losing 1-0 like the computer though they would. The simulation was a boring one, but the real life game was a bit more fun. Unless you couldn’t see past the flags, in which case you didn’t see any of it.
This week, United has another game against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the first matchup having ended in a 2-2 draw. In the simulation, Minnesota lined up in a familiar 4-2-3-1 with Abu Danladi still starting in place of an injured Christian Ramirez and a Scandinavian player named Shmadim Shmemidov getting a start at defensive midfielder to cement, once and for all, that god doesn’t exist.
Both teams came out and forgot how to play defense to start the game as attackers from both sides went in with chances early on. The United counterattack turned out to be important for the Loons in the 22nd minute. After a quick turnaround, Danladi found himself with space on the right side of the penalty area. Drawing the defenders to him, he slotted a pass to Miguel Ibarra who was now the one with space. Miguel sent a cross over to Kevin Molino who chested the ball down before sending a shot through traffic and into the back of the net.
With United surely doing that fun thing where they look good and then let it all slip away, they controlled possession in the attacking third immediately after the goal. Molino found himself with the ball and sent a pass across the box to Ibarra. Batman made no mistake and fired whatever the Dark Knight’s equivalent of a damn rocket between the near post and the goalkeeper’s glove.
The Loons were flying high, but as we too-often see, they were about to break down like a Ford F150 after passing the warranty mileage. Two minutes after Ibarra’s strike, the Whitecaps were in an all out attack when Nicolas Mezquida lofted a perfectly weighted cross to the far post. Christian Techera met it in the air and volleyed home to cut Minnesota’s lead in half.
With another quarter of an hour to play before the half, I wanted the team to try to extend the lead instead of just protecting it – because we’re shit at protecting leads. This was not a good strategy to take. On the cusp of halftime, a Shmemidov pass was intercepted near midfield by Techera. He launched it over the back line to Fredy Montero, who had sped between his defenders. Montero caught the pass on the edge of the box and, alone on goal, made a move around Patrick McLain for an easy shot on an empty net. Vancouver had drawn level right before the halftime whistle.
Things were fairly quiet in the second half, with both teams seemingly happy with another draw. This was the case until the 70th minute when Shmemidov was given a straight red for trying to saw Techera’s leg off with his cleat. At least he wasn’t just standing there, I guess.
The wheels pretty much fell off after the red card as an already shaky defensive unit was down a man and the Vancouver forwards were not slowing down. They finally found a way through in the 80th minute when Matias Laba sent a screamer in from 24 yards out and caught everyone napping. McLain never had a chance and the lead swung to Vancouver.
The Caps weren’t done yet. A midfield turnover led to an odd man rush towards the Minnesota net. Despite four Loons being able to hustle back into position in the box, the cross came in uncontested and Montero struck again, hitting the volley for a 4-2 lead.
The fifth and final goal came just a minute and a half later as Kevin Molino looked like he intentionally passed it to the Vancouver centerback. With a tic tac toe series of passes, Techera had the ball on the touchline, drawing all the defenders to him. He got a pass through to the three unmarked Whitecaps crowding the six yard box, and Yordy Reyna tapped it in.
Mercifully, the game ended soon after that and we made our way to the locker room with God Save the Queen (or whatever Canadians sing after a win) echoing around the stadium. Seeing as how a certain Norwegian player that’s not on the real life team anymore was the real game breaker here, I wouldn’t put any money on this one and just hope for the best.