Loons win at Colorado for first time in MLS
Fragapane's free kick was flicked in by Tapias for the winning goal
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Minnesota United expected an Argentine attacker to give opponents doses of danger on set pieces this season.
It was supposed to be Emanuel Reynoso, but with the MLS All-Star suspended by MLS, Franco Fragapane has slid into that role and has done swimmingly.
Fragapane’s great free kick was flicked on by Micky Tapias for the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.
Fragapane also provided a sterling corner kick that led to a Tapias header and Bongi Hlongawane rebound goal in the 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls last week.
Minnesota (2-0-1, 7 points) snapped a five-match losing streak at Colorado and improved to 1-5-1 in the Denver suburb since 2017.
The Rapids (0-3-1, 1 point) snapped a 319-minute goalless drought across four games by capitalizing on MNUFC’s second straight slow start to a second half.
After allowing New York an equalizer just after the break last Saturday, Colorado’s Cole Bassett beat the right side of the Loons’ defense and tucked in a goal inside the far post in the 49th minute.
Minnesota equalized five minutes later. Hassani Dotson’s cross hit Danny Wilson’s arm to give the Loons a penalty kick. From the spot, Luis Amarilla went to his right and goalkeeper Will Yarbrough to the left. It was Amarilla’s first goal of 2023.
Both teams nearly took the lead in the 67th minute. Danny Wilson’s header went off the crossbar. Then Minnesota had a man advantage with Franco Fragpane, Luis Amarilla and Bongi Hlongwane, but Amarilla’s indecision led to Hlongwane being offside as he scored a goal.
Colorado had the only two shots on target of the first half, but neither challenged goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
With up to seven players going on national team duties next week, manager Adrian Heath said Tuesday he was going to rest a few players that will remain for the home game against Vancouver next Saturday. This is why Joseph Rosales started on the left wing while Franco Fragapane was on the bench.
Minnesota’s best chances of the first half came down the left side with Rosales, including a strong cross Mender Garcia couldn’t get on the end of in the 12th minute.
Dotson and right back D.J. Taylor, who have been recovering from injuries, made their first starts of the 2023 season.Dotson subbed out for Fragapane in the 54th minute.
MNUFC will pay Wolverhampton a transfer fee of approximately $2.5 million to acquire Jeong Sang-bin on a permanent transfer, a source told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The Loons are planning a news conference for their new 20-year-old South Korean attacker at Allianz Field on Wednesday. Jeong had a 4 1/2-year contract with Wolves of the English Premier League. … Jeong will join MNUFC in one of three Under-22 Initiative slots. Center back Mikael Marques, another U22 signing, has returned to training after suffering an ankle injury in preseason.
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