COMMERCE CITY, Colorado — Minnesota United expected an Argentine attacker to inflict danger on opponents at set pieces this season.
It was supposed to be Emanuel Reynoso, but with the MLS All-Star being suspended from MLS, Franco Fragapane stepped into the role and did brilliantly.
In the 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, Micky Tapias grabbed a great free kick from Fragapane, who scored the winning goal.
Fragapane also delivered an excellent corner kick that led to a Tapias header and a rebound goal from Bongi Hlongawane in last week’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
Minnesota (2-0-1, 7 points) went on a five-game losing streak in Colorado and improved to 1-5-1 in suburban Denver since 2017.
The Rapids (0-3-1, 1 point) weathered a scoreless losing streak of 319 minutes in four games by capitalizing on MNUFC’s second straight slow start to the second half.
After Cole Bassett gave New York an equalizer just after the break last Saturday, Colorado’s Cole Bassett smashed the right flank of the Loons defense and scored a goal at the far post in the 49th minute.
Minnesota equalized five minutes later. Hassani Dotson’s cross caught Danny Wilson’s arm to give the Loons a penalty. From the penalty spot Luis Amarilla went right and goalkeeper Will Yarbrough left. It was Amarilla’s first goal of 2023.
In the 67th minute, both teams almost took the lead. Danny Wilson’s header went over the bar. Then Minnesota had a man advantage in Franco Fragpane, Luis Amarilla and Bongi Hlongwane, but Amarilla’s indecisiveness resulted in Hlongwane being flagged for offside when he scored.
Colorado had their only two shots on target in the first half, but neither of them challenged goaltender Dayne St. Clair.
With up to seven players heading into the national team next week, manager Adrian Heath said Tuesday he would rest some players left for next Saturday’s home game against Vancouver. That’s why Joseph Rosales started on the left wing while Franco Fragapane sat on the bench.
Minnesota’s best first-half chances came down the left with Rosales, including a powerful cross that Mender Garcia couldn’t reach in the 12th minute.
Dotson and right-back DJ Taylor, who have recovered from injuries, made their first start to the 2023 season. Dotson came on for Fragapane in the 54th minute.
MNUFC will pay Wolverhampton a transfer fee of around $2.5million to take over Jeong Sang-bin permanently, a source told St Paul Pioneer Press. The Loons are planning a press conference for their new 20-year-old South Korean forward at Allianz Field on Wednesday. Jeong was on a 4 1/2 year contract with Wolves in the English Premier League. … Jeong will join MNUFC in one of three spots of the U22 initiative. Centre-back Mikael Marques, another U22 signing, has returned to training after suffering an ankle injury last season.
This story was written by one of our partner news outlets. Forum Communications Company uses content from agencies such as Reuters, Kaiser Health News, Tribune News Service and others to provide a broader range of news to our readers. Learn more about the messaging services FCC uses here.