See you in Atlanta, Minnesota United.
Behind Mason Toye’s second game-winning goal of the tournament, the Loons are heading to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Final with a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minn.
“He wants to be good,” Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath said about the game’s hero Mason Toye. “He’s willing to put the hours in to make himself good. That’s why there’s not a person on the coaching staff that’s not absolutely delighted for him.”
Enter the Highlight Zone… pic.twitter.com/nRg7vrfq3k
— Minnesota United FC (@MNUFC) August 8, 2019
The 20-year-old proved to be the difference in United’s 3-2 road win against the Houston Dynamo on June 18 in the Round of 16. His goal in the 89th minute put the Loons into the next round. Wednesday night, it came a bit earlier in the evening, but still proved to be the difference maker.
Catching Portland on the counter attack in the 64th minute, midfielder Kevin Molino found the forward running Toye behind Portland’s Claude Dielna. The weighted ball over the top allowed the youngster to continue his run, and with composure, cemented Minnesota’s first-ever spot in a final with a curling shot that found the netting inside of the far post.
The game’s first goal came from Darwin Quintero, who scored a Modern Era-record-tying sixth goal with a penalty kick in the 22nd minute. His preceding free kick clipped an arm going through the wall, allowing the Colombian to give the Loons the lead.
“Penalties, people think it’s easy, but nobody can recreate the pressure,” said Heath, who won his 19th career US Open Cup game, which ties him with Bob Bradley for fourth-most in the Modern Era. “You’re not in the emotion of the game, you might be carrying a knock.
“It’s funny though because I thought he always goes to the ‘keeper’s left. He switched it up again today,” Heath added.
Quintero becames the 10th player in the Modern Era (1995-present) to score six goals, which ties the single-tournament record. He joins a list that includes, among others, Josh Wolff (2000 Chicago Fire), Herculez Gomez (2005 LA Galaxy), Kenny Cooper (2014 Seattle Sounders) and Melvin Tarley of the now-defunct Minnesota Thunder (USL). Tarley was part of the only other Minnesota team to reach the Semifinals back in 2005. The last player to score six in one tournament was last year’s TheCup.us Player of the Tournament, Mauro Manotas, who led the Houston Dynamo to last year’s Open Cup title. Quintero will now have one more game to break the record in three weeks’ time.
It was Portland’s first time trailing in this edition of the Open Cup, at least until Brian Fernandez tied the game with his fourth goal of the tournament just before halftime.
Sandwiched between Quintero and Toye’s tally, the forward managed to stay onside just long enough to receive a one-touch ball from Jeremy Ebobisse in Minnesota’s penalty area. Much to the chagrin of the Minnesota faithful, Fernandez’s goal in first half stoppage time brought the teams back to level terms heading into the locker room.
With the win, the state of Minnesota will have a representative in the Final for the first time. The closest the state had playing for the silverware came in 2005, when Melvin Tarley’s Thunder went on one of the Modern Era’s most remarkable runs, beating three MLS teams (Real Salt Lake, Colorado Rapids, Kansas City Wizards) before clattering out to eventual champion, LA Galaxy in the Semifinals.
Likewise, Minnesota’s opponent in the final will also be the first team from Georgia to play in a Final. Atlanta’s 2-0 win over Orlando City SC on Tuesday night means that whoever wins the championship game on Aug. 27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., they will be a first-time winner.
Most goals in a single US Open Cup (Modern Era)
6 – Darwin Quintero (Minnesota United FC – 2019)
6 – Mauro Manotas (Houston Dynamo – 2018)
6 – Kenny Cooper (Seattle Sounders FC – 2014)
6 – David Bulow (Richmond Kickers – 2011)
6 – Herculez Gomez (LA Galaxy – 2005)
6 – Melvin Tarley (Minnesota Thunder – 2005)
6 – Josh Wolff (Chicago Fire – 2000)
6 – Welton (Miami Fusion – 2000)
6 – Mugurel Dimitru (San Diego Flash – 1999)
6 – Marquis White (San Francisco Bay Seals – 1997)
Most career coaching advances (Modern Era)*
* Coaching wins combined with PK wins
40 – Sigi Schmid (LA Galaxy, Columbus Crew, Seattle Sounders)
30 – Mike Anhaeuser (Charleston Battery)
27 – Leigh Cowlishaw (Richmond Kickers)
21 – Adrian Heath (Austin Aztex/Orlando City SC, Minnesota United FC)
21 – Bill Becher (Harrisburg City Islanders/Penn FC)
21 – Colin Clarke (San Diego Flash, Dallas Burn/FC Dallas, Carolina RailHawks/North Carolina FC)
21 – Peter Vermes (Sporting KC)
2019 US Open Cup Round 1: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 2: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 3: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round 4: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Round of 16: Game-by-game review
2019 US Open Cup Quarterfinals: Game-by-game review
THECUP.US PLAYER OF THE ROUND
Round 1: Charles Boateng – Richmond Kickers
Round 2: Bryant Martin – Florida Soccer Soldiers
Round 3: Blake Frischknecht – Orange County FC
Round 4: Teal Bunbury – New England Revolution
Round of 16: Sam Fink – Saint Louis FC
Quarterfinals: Adam Grinwis – Orlando City SC