The match was the Minnesota United FC 2014 home opener, and a raucous crowd came out to cheer the undefeated Loons to nine points and the top of the NASL table. Things started with both sides playing agressive, the end result being no real control for either side. But out of halftime Minnesota began to gain the upper hand and a sustained sequence of pressure resulted in a penalty to the home side in the 70th minute that substitute Simone Bracalello calmly put away to give the Loons a lead they would keep for rest of the game.
The first few minutes after kickoff saw the Eddies immediately put the pressure on United, challenging the United midfield and making strong attacking runs. In the fifth minute, the Edmonton trapped United defender Kevin Venegas on the right wing, forcing a backpass that was all too easy to read for Eddies striker Frank Jonke. Cenral defender Tiago Calvano was forced to knock him off the ball with open space, but the referee chose to award Calvano a yellow for the tactial foul to the frustration of the Edmonton players. The resulting free kick went high and wide, letting United off the hook.
After the early scare, Minnesota seemed galvanized, pressing the Edmonton defenders and intercepting a number of passes deep in the attacking end. But Edmonton's emergency defense proved up to the task and a flurry of shots from the Loons lofted easily into the gloves of goalkeeper John Smits.
As Minnesota's pressure petered out, Edmonton began to regain their footing again, and the game became a scrappy midfield battle. Edmonton would get their best chance of the game in the 33rd minute, with the ball played dangerously into the box and a strong shot that forced Loons keeper Matt VanOekel to make a kick save.
The final chance of the half, and the best for either teams came after United defensive midfielder Floyd Franks found himself alone near the touchline in the Edmonton box after the ball bounced through the defense. Franks leveled a powerful shot, but the angle was tight and Smits stayed big to deny United and give up a corner kick, which came to nothing.
United and Edmonton, who had played to five 1-1 draws at the National Sports Center over the past three years, remained tied 0-0 going into the locker room.
In the second half United began to slowly assert more control over the game. In the 51th minute, a series of short passes left Floyd Franks wide open at the top of the six yard box, but the midfielder took his shot weakly, putting a low strike directly at Smits. Minnesota would come agonizingly close twice again in the 56th minutes, with Cristiano Dias heading the ball strongly at Smits, in a near carbon copy of the last second goal that United scored against Edmonton. Then, second later it would be Davis who again blasted a header at Smits who was again perfectly positioned.
The Eddies responded with a spell of play of their own, but a free header off a cross was knocked just wide of the goal to the relief of a beaten VanOekel.
In the 65th minute, Minnesota Head Coach Manny Lagos turned to his bench, subbing on Greg Jordan for Floyd Franks in defensive midfield, and Simone Bracalello for Jamie Watson on the left wing. The fresh legs made an immediate impact, putting Edmonton under fresh pressure as both urged their teammates forward.
It all paid off in the 69th, as Bracalello received the ball in the box and smashed a shot that was stopped by the hand of defender Marko Aleksic. Bracalello stepped up and calmly slotted the ball into the left corner as Smits guessed wrongly.
The tempo of the game changed after the goal, with United content to sit back and rely on a defense that has conceded only once in three games. Edmonton pressed forward lofting balls into the box and playing the ball around the box, but Minnesota held their shape and occasionally looked dangerous on the counter attack. Three minutes of stoppage time passed and the game concluded with the advantage holding to the joy of the home fans who surely had flashbacks to previous results at home against the Canadian side.
With the New York Cosmos falling at home to the San Antonio Scorpions, Minnesota's win vaults the Loons to sole control of first place in the NASL Spring Season, with a third of the games to be played.