Minnesota United produced late dramatic scenes as forward Pablo Campos, having scored the game-tying penalty after 54 minutes, sealed victory with the injury time clock ticking down as he headed home a Simone Bracalello cross in a 2-1 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Darnell King had scored an opportunistic goal with only eight minutes played as he stole a loose ball from keeper Matt van Oekel and slid the ball into an empty net to earn the visitors a halftime lead.
“It became a special night to win that way because the guys didn’t give up,” said United FC coach Manny Lagos. “I just felt like we were creating some chances in the second half and had the energy to get back into the game. We’re obviously excited to get three points.
The Strikers came to play, dominating the early exchanges of possession but as the first half progressed United settled into their groove and looked good in attack. The difficulties that United have had this season in front of goal, once again reared their ugly head producing 12 shots on target, with no goals to speak of.
The more potent force in front of goal, United found themselves one down at the half due to sloppy defensive play. A undercooked back-pass to Matt VanOekel resulted in the initial goal from Darnell King of the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. Hosman Ramos, playing in his first match of the season played very lively for the Strikers and United looked to quell his influence in the second half.
United made the second half their own, seemingly owning the possession rights. When it when came to finishing it took a slice of luck to level the score at one a piece. It was a handball in the box by Strikers defender Scott Gordon, who already on a yellow card, did not receive another for his transgression. Pablo Campos, entrusted with the responsibly of taking the penalty confidently finished from the spot.
In a fit of substitutions the game seemed to lull. Chances were created at both ends but overall the attacking play was weak. United’s lack of attacking organization left them looking short of options going forward. VanOekel bailed United out a few times with some short range saves.
The Strikers tried to get on the front foot by bringing on some attacking impotence, but it was United who had the last laugh with a stoppage time winner from Pablo Campos. It was his grit and determination the box that gave him the opportunity.
“As a forward you need to have confidence to score goals and you’ve got to start from some point and hopefully this is going to be my takeoff point. I’m happy to help the team. There is pressure on me to score and I came here to score goals and that’s what I have to do. I was new here and people are starting to understand how I play and the moves I make and that takes some time. Hopefully that understanding can keep going.
“Everybody believes that I can step up and hopefully we can continue this and build on the win. The team understands the key to winning games.”
United successfully Defended The Dome for the last time with an enthralling 2-1 win. United are now tied for second place in the League.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
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|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|