Minnesota United is only two points below Real Salt Lake in sixth place in MLS's Western Conference after a 5-1 win over LAFC.
The win was the third in a row and fourth in the last five
games for the Loons. The big reason for the surge has been Colombian Darwin Quintero, acquired from Mexico's Club America on March 31 and signed to a Designated Player contract.
Quintero had one goal and two assists against LAFC to give him six goals and
four assists in his last five games.
“Every time that we attack, if we can get Darwin on the ball, we look like we’re going to create or score a goal, virtually every time
we’re in their half of the field,” said Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath. “I think he’s now enjoying playing with the rest of the group, and I think they [understand]
that if we can get him the ball in the right spots, and put runs on ahead of him, then you’ve got a great chance of getting in on goal. I thought some of the goals were fantastic."
On the first goal in the 25th minute, Quintero broke down the right wing and completely faked out defender Dejan Jakovic before feeding Rasmus Schuller.
“Darwin is a
great player and he can keep the ball in the box,” said Schuller, “so I knew if I came in the second wave that he could find me and that’s what I did and I found the bottom corner.
It was nice to see it go in.”
In the second half, Californians Miguel Ibarra and Christian Ramirez joined in and tore apart the LAFC defense, which had allowed only
four goals in its last five games.
Ibarra scored his sixth goal of the season and then set up Ramirez for his second of the game and seventh of the season.
“We have to
go into each game like it’s a playoff game,” said Ramirez. “And that’s a mentality that’s being pushed throughout the locker room. And it definitely starts from the top,