Minnesota United scores late to earn 1-1 tie on the road against Toronto FC
FILE - Toronto FC's Lorenzo Insigne brings the ball forward during Canadian Championship quarterfinal soccer action against CF Montreal in Toronto on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, June 3, 2023 11:00PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 3, 2023 11:00PM EDT
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Kervin Arriaga scored in the 89th minute to lift Minnesota United into a 1-1 tie with Toronto FC in MLS play Saturday.
After going down to a 58th-minute Lorenzo Insigne goal, Minnesota turned it on in the dying minutes
Toronto centre back Aime Mabika made a goal-saving block off a Mender Garcia shot from close range in the 87th minute. And Toronto goalkeeper Sean Johnson made a marvellous save off a header only to see the ball go to Arriaga who sidestepped two defenders and fired a shot that deflected in off midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye.
TFC hung on for the tie as Minnesota kept coming in stoppage time.
Toronto went ahead on a 58th-minute counterattack led by Federico Bernardeschi after Minnesota lost the ball near the TFC goal. The Italian charged up the middle of the pitch with the ball eventually finding its way to Richie Laryea whose cross went through the penalty box to Insigne who beat Canadian 'keeper Dayne St. Clair for his second goal of the season.
Minnesota had its chances but was unable to turn them into shots on target until the dying moments. Only three of its 19 shots were on the mark.
Toronto (3-5-9) extended its unbeaten run to three games (1-0-2). It had won just two of its previous 13 outings in all competitions (2-5-6).
TFC came into weekend play with an 0-4-3 road record in league play, one of four MLS teams yet to win on the road this season (along with Houston, New York City FC and Vancouver). TFC's last league away win was Aug. 27 at Charlotte.
Minnesota (5-6-5) came into the game in seventh spot in the West. It has won just one of its seven league games at home (1-1-5) this season.
Both teams were playing their third game in a week.
Toronto defeated D.C. United 2-1 last Saturday and drew 0-0 Wednesday with the Chicago Fire, with both games at BMO Field.
Minnesota, which came into the game winless in its last three matches in all competitions (0-2-1), lost 2-1 at Austin on Wednesday after tying visiting Real Salt Lake 1-1 last weekend.
It was 31 Celsius at kickoff for Toronto's first visit to Allianz Field, which opened in April 2019.
St. Clair, a member of Canada's World Cup team in Qatar, made a fine diving save in the 10th minute to parry a curling Bernardeschi shot from the edge of the penalty box that took a deflection off a defender en route to goal.
It proved to be the lone shot on target in the first half.
At the other end, Minnesota threatened in the 28th minute with Johnson out of position after an attempted clearance. Hassani Dotson's shot from distance at the empty goal hit a defender and Franco Fragapane could not knock the rebound home from close range.
South Korean international Sang Bin Jeong fired a shot off target after a Bernardeschi giveaway in the 37th minute.
Toronto sent on Brandon Servania and Deandre Kerr at halftime for Kosi Thompson and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty with Bernardeschi taking a more central role. Kerr's shot in the 53rd minute went straight to St. Clair.
Toronto centre back Matt Hedges limped off in the 56th minute, replaced by Sigurd Rosted who was making his first appearance since May 9 after a rib injury.
Jeong was off-target again with a shot soon after Toronto went ahead.
Attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, suspended for not joining the team at the start of this season, came on for Minnesota in the 65th minute for his first appearance since Oct. 17 when he scored in the playoff loss to FC Dallas that ended the Loons' campaign.
The Argentine designated player, who led Minnesota with 10 goals and 11 assists last season, came close with a shot deflected just wide in the 73rd minute.
Toronto was missing defender Shane O'Neill, midfielders Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Victor Vazquez and Alonso Coello and forward Adama Diomande.
Missing for Minnesota were defenders Mikael Marques, Bakaye Dibassy, Kemar Lawrence (a former TFC player) and Ryen Jiba and midfielder Robin Lod. Former Toronto 'keeper Clint Irwin was on the Loons' bench.
Toronto and Minnesota had met just three times previously, with TFC winning the last encounter 4-3 at BMO Field in April 2019. The teams combined for 19 goals in those three matches.
Toronto came into Saturday's game leading the series 2-1-0, losing 4-3 in its lone visit to Minnesota in July 2018. That game was at TCF Bank Stadium, now known as Huntington Bank Stadium, on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.
After winning only one of seven matches (1-4-2) in May in all competitions, TFC faces a less congested June with just four matches and an 11-day international break in mid-month.
Toronto hosts Nashville next Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2023.