Round numbers don’t mean much by themselves, but society often puts significance on them because they sound good.

Take 200, for instance. It’s tidy. And value can be placed on it as sort of a milestone or chance to reflect on all the singular little events that add up to reach one big one.

On Wednesday, playmaker Emanuel Reynoso scored Minnesota United’s 200th regular-season goal in MLS. The crafty Argentine put a cherry on top with the way he scored it.

Carving out inches of space against LAFC defender Marco Farfan, “Rey” slid away from goal and connected his special left foot to the ball, striking it just so to go across goalkeeper Tomas Romero’s face and into the corner of the net.

It was a beautiful goal to contend with so many of the 199 that came before it in MNUFC’s four-plus years in the league. A fine moment for the club, for sure, but as time marches on, numbers go up and Reynoso’s goal was soon overshadowed by No. 201, an odd number that would typically fight to be seen.

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A half hour after Reynoso’s hit, Loons midfielder Hassani Dotson’s long-distance strike in the match’s final seconds lifted the Loons to a 2-2 tie on the road against one of the league’s best clubs.

As United looks to chip away on its next 100 goals versus Vancouver on Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneer Press paused to look back on the opening 200. We asked coaches, a longtime player, fans and a commentator — stakeholders who have been around since Year 1 — to recall which goals for them stand above the rest.

Most iconic

No. 1 is an odd number, but it’s first, so it will always hold a special place. On March 3, 2017, Christian Ramirez notched the club’s opening goal in MLS.

The Loons trailed Portland 2-0 when “Superman” subbed in. He soon received a pass, turned with the ball and found the back of the net to give hope of a comeback in the 79th minute. The Timbers squashed that with three more goals in a runaway 5-1 win, a foreshadowing of a rough expansion season, but Ramirez’s goal gave supporters their first on-field moment of joy.

Near the visitors’ locker room at Providence Park, Ramirez and assistant coach Ian Fuller shared a postgame moment on how a move they had worked on in training paid off in a game. “Working with Chris was fun because he loved to train and finish,” Fuller said.

The fact the Loons’ first goal came from a fan favorite with roots to their NASL era carries a deeper meaning. “There is a certain thing about where he came from, who he is, what he did for the team and what he means to the fans,” longtime supporter Bruce McGuire said. “I will always remember him for that.”

The Loons’ first goal in the first game at Allianz Field is an indelible moment. On April 13, 2019, Ozzie Alonso’s right-footed bullet off a volley in the 13th minute against New York City FC sent an overflow crowd of 19,796 into raptures.

“The eruption of the crowd, the way (Alonso) took it, the anticipation and the rarity at which he scores just came together to make the moment an occasion,” wrote Nicholas Bisbee, co-founder and first president of the True North Elite supporters group.

Up in the radio booth, play-by-play man Callum Williams recalled shouting Alonso’s name. “There was a family in front of the booth celebrating,” Williams wrote. “The dad lifted his young son up into the air and the son was punching the air and screaming. I thought to myself this is truly iconic because that’s a moment that father and son will never forget.”

Fuller added, “It was the loudest I’ve heard Allianz.”

While it is far from the prettiest goal among the 200, Dotson’s tally against Sporting Kansas City on Sept. 25, 2019 holds its own rightful spot because it clinched the Loons’ first MLS Cup Playoff berth. Known for his “bangers”, this one from was far from a stunning long-range rocket, taking a deflection of K.C. defender Botond Barth before going in.

Bisbee called it the “most-emotional” goal for him. “I just burst out in tears of joy and relief,” he said. “A moment I relive in slow motion, remembering who is was with and how it felt. Nearly indescribable.”

Since it happened in the MLS Cup Playoffs it technically doesn’t count in this list of 200, but Reynoso’s direct free kick goal against Seattle in the Western Conference final on Dec. 7 deserves to override this categorization.

“It seemed like the end for Seattle when he hit that,” McGuire said. “.. That’s literally the best goal Minnesota has scored in MLS. That is the one.”

Midfielder Ethan Finlay said the fact the Sounders came back to snatch away the biggest game in Loons’ history unfortunately takes some of the shine off Reynoso's stunner.

For players and coaches, another playoff game deserves to be in the mix, the 3-0 win over K.C. in the West semifinal, and primarily Kevin Molino’s acrobatic toe-poke goal.

“I still take so much satisfaction out of the goals we scored in Kansas City to take us to the (West) final,” manager Adrian Heath said. “Nobody gave us much of a chance going in there.”

Most stunning

Colombian attacker Darwin Quintero came to Minnesota with the nickname Cientifico del Gol after the famous scientist Charles Darwin. On July 4, 2018, he was a mad scientist, chipping three goals over goalkeeper Clint Irwin in a 4-3 win over then-defending MLS champion Toronto FC at TCF Bank Stadium.

It remains the Loons’ only hat trick in MLS, with Quintero’s first goal was hit with the outside of his right boot, through two Reds defenders and into the left corner of the net. “Just ludicrous,” Bisbee said.

For McGuire, Quintero’s third goal left the biggest impression.

“I’ve struggled in the later part of my adult life with depression and I don’t feel a ton of emotion all the time and I don’t feel a ton of joy,” McGuire shared. “That third goal literally launched me out of my seat, into the air screaming with joy. That doesn’t happen to me very often.

“I’ve gone back once a year and watched the trio of goals, and I still get goosebumps,” McGuire said Friday. “I have goosebumps right now.”

Abu Danladi, the top pick in the 2017 MLS draft, had some moments of brilliance before Nashville took him in the expansion draft, including missiles in road wins against Montreal and Atlanta in the club’s inaugural season.

Most bizarre

Ibson was different. The one-named Brazilian had flare and that was most apparent when he took a Miguel Ibarra cross and back-heeled it into the net versus Houston on April 28, 2018. As it crossed the goal-line, Ibson turned to the side and smirked.

“Just the audacity and cheekiness of it was so unreal,” Bisbee recalled.

Back in the Allainz Field opener in ’19, the Loons benefited from blunder from NYCFC’s goalkeeper Sean Johnson somehow kicked the ball into his own net. It’s one of eight own goals credited to Minnesota in the 200; 4 percent of the total.

“A classic example of the occasion getting to the player,” Williams said.

Other head-scratchers: Tyrone Mears’ out-of-nowhere bomb vs. K.C. in 2018; San Jose “throwing a parade,” as McGuire put it, for center back Michael Boxall being allowed to roam free and score in 2019; and earlier this year when winger Niko Hansen scored with his hip against Real Salt Lake.


Twenty one is technically another odd number, but what’s really peculiar is how three former Loons share it. Ramirez, Quintero and Molino occupy the top spot in the club’s record book with 21 regular-season goals apiece.

Ramirez, who also wore jersey No. 21, set the mark first in July 2018, before his trade to LAFC. Quintero tied it in September 2019 and was then traded to Houston. Molino made it a threesome last November before his offseason signing with Columbus.

“One year we would love to have someone score over 20 in a season,” Fuller said. “Currently we are getting it from all over the place.”

While it’s certainly a quirk in Minnesota’s records, Finlay doesn’t see it that way. “I think it makes total sense to me, actually,” said Finlay, who is the club’s active leader with 16 goals. “… We’ve been a club that hasn’t had to rely on one player single-handedly to score our goals. That is a recipe for success.”


Sometimes it’s not so much goal that’s remembered as it ends up being the celebration. Atop this list was fullback Jerome Thiesson flapping his arm as if he’s a Loon after scoring against Vancouver on June 24, 2017.

“I wanted to fly away like a loon,” the Swiss man joked at the time.

Quintero kept fans guessing when he would tailor his celebration to what his son wanted; Mason Toye mimicked shaking maracas; and now Robin Lod, who is climbing the list with 11 goals, will imitate grabbing an arrow from a quiver and shooting it as if he’s Robin Hood.

Sometimes it’s the group celebrations, with the scorer being mobbed by teammates on the field, by guys on the bench or those warming up, which can show the collectiveness of the team.

“The most important thing is it’s 200 goals,” Heath said, “but everybody has contributed along the way.”