After an upset loss in 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup to the Des Moines Menace, Minnesota United FC were determined to not have it happen for a second straight year. It took substitute forward Christian Ramirez to make sure of it.
Ramirez, United’s leading goal scorer in NASL play, picked up a miss-hit clearance pass by Menace defender Brandon Fricke, rounded goalkeeper David Meves and coolly slotted home in the 86th minute of a 1-0 win at The Valley Stadium in West Des Moines in a closely-contested Third-Round tie.
“Dave and Brandon played fantastic. They made so many good defensive plays,” said Des Moines head coach Mike Jeffries. “It was unfortunate the way it ended.”
With the win, the Loons earn a trip to take on MLS side Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park on June 18 in the Fourth Round.
United were unlucky not to have put the game away much earlier, hitting the woodwork four times – twice in each half – while dominating possession.
Mozesh Gyorio drilled a 25-yard shot that Meves just got a touch on to put it off the post. Just before halftime, Omar Daley hit the post with a tight-angle shot.
Des Moines, on virtually their first attack of the second half, had a penalty claim denied in the 63rd minute. The linesman waved his flag for a handball in the box on United defender Cristiano Faguendes Dias, but the referee waved play-on. In the confusion, Mueng Sunday ripped a shot off the post for the Menace. United countered and Daley responded with another shot of the post.
This is the third consecutive year that Minnesota United FC and Des Moines have played in the US Open Cup. Minnesota United FC won at The Valley two years ago in the Second Round (when the franchise was Minnesota Stars FC), before falling in the Second Round last year.