Minnesota United 2, Portland Timbers 1 | 2019 US Open Cup Semifinal Recap
Minnesota United are into their first final in the club’s MLS history, as they knocked off the Portland Timbers, 2-1, Wednesday night in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal at Allianz Field. The Loons will face Atlanta United on Aug. 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with both clubs seeking their first USOC title.
The game-winner came in the 64th minute via striker Mason Toye, who collected a long ball from midfielder Kevin Molino. The youngster then opened his hips and curled his finish into the far-side netting, leaving Portland goalie Steve Clark with little chance.
Minnesota had to fight for it, though, after Portland made it 1-1 in the second minute of first-half stoppage time. Seconds before the whistle was set to blow, Brian Fernandez corralled a one-touch pass from Jeremy Ebobisse, then tucked home to the far post.
The Loons first found the breakthrough in the 22nd minute after Darwin Quintero slotted home a penalty kick for his sixth goal of the competition. The 1-0 score arose after Portland center back Claude Dielna raised his arm on a free kick, blocking the ball.
Portland had a golden chance to equalize in the 94th minute, as a cross ricocheted off Diego Valeri and eventually the post. The ball bounced on the goalmouth, but the Timbers couldn’t bundle it home.
The result spoiled Portland’s chance to face Atlanta in another final, as the two sides met in last year’s MLS Cup. It also ensured Minnesota’s second straight win over the Timbers, as they beat them 1-0 in the league last weekend.
- 22' – MIN – Darwin Quintero (PK) | WATCH
- 45+2' – POR – Brian Fernandez | WATCH
- 64' – MIN – Mason Toye | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: What a result this is for Minnesota, who have taken repeated strides forward during the 2019 season. They’re now one match away from the club’s first Open Cup title and the commensurate Concacaf Champions League spot. After the lows they reached in 2017 and 2018, especially on defense, it’s been quite the turnaround. For Portland, they leave with a bitter taste after controlling large portions of the first half. All focus now turns to MLS play and making inroads in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Mason Toye’s finish was a thing of beauty, and the celebration was just as solid. The second-year forward was subbed off in the 71st minute, but left with taking another massive step forward in what's been a breakout season.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Ozzie Alonso was immense in breaking up Portland attacks, then was solid in linking passes forward. He’s won four Open Cups with the Seattle Sounders, so these big-time games are quite familiar for the defensive midfielder.