Dubbed the Summer of Soccer by Minnesota United FC, the team continued a season full of celebrating the game with a 2-0 win against English Premier League’s Swansea City AFC Saturday night in Blaine.
The Loons scored twice in the first half in front of an announced sell-out crowd of 9,064 that coincidentally was played on the final day of Schwan’s USA Cup at the National Sports Stadium.
United defenseman Justin Davis found himself on the edge of the penalty box with the ball at his feet and one defender to beat. He sidestepped the defender and broke in on goal before sending a low shot between the legs of Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel just eight minutes into the friendly match.
Just before halftime United midfielder Greg Jordan teamed with Christian Ramirez to capitalize on a poor pass from a Swansea defender. Ramirez stole the ball and flicked it on to a sprinting Jordan. He slipped past the defense and slotted the ball past the keeper who came out to challenge the play, but was late from 10 yards out.
Swansea controlled the ball but failed to convert its chances including a chip shot by Bafetimbi Gomis as the best scoring chance in the 25th minute.
Minnesota, the reigning NASL’s Spring Season champion, more or less played a defensive style in the second half focusing on defense in front of subbed-in goalkeeper Matt VanOekel and counterattack to spring the offensive chances to secure a win against the premier league team’s first stop in Minnesota.
Swansea made eight substitutions at the half but the physical play and chippie play was worse in the second half. Yellow cards went to Chico Flores after continuing to argue calls made by the referee and Kyle Bartley after a dangerous tackle.
The atmosphere inside the National Sports Center Stadium was electric with the Dark Clouds supporters section in fine form behind the United goal in the opening half.
Swansea’s stop in Minnesota is the final on a two-week preseason tour that began July 6 in Chicago. Swansea returned to Wales Sunday.
They played to a 1-1 draw against Chivas Guadalajara of the Mexican Premier League at Miller Park in Milwaukee July 16.
United opened the fall season July 17 with a 1-0 win against longtime foe Carolina Railhawks in Blaine. Daniel Mendes scored the lone goal in the 26th minute.
They continue the season July 26 at Atlanta before hosting the second half of a soccer doubleheader against Ottawa Fury August 2 at TCF Bank Stadium. The NASL league match follows the Guinness International Championship Series match between Premier League champion Manchester City and Greek champions Olympiacos.
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