Christian Ramirez scored early in the second half and Miguel Ibarra followed soon after as Minnesota United got a desperately needed 2-0 win Saturday, keeping the visiting Montreal Impact winless for a fourth consecutive game.
Through the first 20 minutes, there weren’t many opportunities as both sides sought to establish a style of play and impose their will on the game.
It was Montreal (3-10-0) that showed signs of life first, pressuring the Loons’ back line. Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was on form the few times he was challenged, and defender Francisco Calvo played with calm and confidence to keep the Impact’s attack at bay.
Despite that strong play, Minnesota (5-7-1) looked uninspired for much of the first half, with players walking back on defense at times and offensive runs that went nowhere. At the hydration break in the 30th minute, Loons coach Adrian Heath scolded his team for their poor play.
That talking-to seemed to wake them up, and the Loons produced a flurry of chances at the end of the half, with midfielder Darwin Quintero pushing a beautiful chance into an open net wide left. Alexi Gomez hit the bar on a powerful shot, and Ibarra got a chance, but the Loons couldn’t break through.
Montreal nearly capitalized on those missed chances at the end of the half, but Matteo Mancosu shot wide left.
The Loons dominated the second half, building on their push at the end of the first half. Ramirez took a pass from Ibson that came right to his feet, sending the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute.
Ibarra followed in the 58th minute as Minnesota took advantage of a long pass to Gomez, who delayed to give Ibarra a chance to get into the play. Gomez delivered the ball into the box, and Ibarra won a challenge and put the ball home for the 2-0 lead.
Shuttleworth came up big with a save in the 65th minute on a shot by Raheem Edwards and made a couple of routine stops in the closing minutes to preserve his second clean sheet of the season and give the Loons momentum for a looming showdown with conference-leading Sporting Kansas City on June 3.
Montreal hosts Houston next Saturday.
—Field Level Media