After starting out with four straight losses, Minnesota United badly needed a victory.
The Loons got it, but it was not easy. Argentine Ramon Abila's first MLS goal in the 72nd minute gave them a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night at Allianz Field.
After Abila, who goes by the nickname "Wanchope" after former Costa Rican star Paulo Wanchope, flicked Robin Lod's cross with his head inside the far post, he celebrated by lifting his gray jersey to show a T-shirt with his brother Gaston’s picture.
The T-shirt said, "Gastón, te amamos. Nunca te olvidaremos" ("Gaston, we love you. We will never forget you.") His brother had suffered from depression and committed suicide last year.
"Obviously, the dedication will always be made for him," said Abila, who was issued a yellow card after his celebration. "Yesterday, coincidentally, was the anniversary of his passing, so we miss him, he is someone we love a lot and my family still has that internal pain of seeing someone lost. He was so young and such a drastic decision, but hey, we have to move on, life goes on, we have to live our life and get up and try to be better and connect. What we can ensure is that we all feel a little better, and if this goal and the victory help people to be happy today, a little calmer, it's welcome."