Minnesota United FC enter the halftime locker room with a 2-1 edge thanks to a stoppage-time goal from United captain Aaron Pitchkolan, his second goal of the season. Pablo Campos scored his 10th goal of the season in the 10th minute to give United the initial lead. Carlos Salazar leveled the clubs in the 28th minute, after firing in his own rebound.
"I thought we played well. We were making good chances. The guys played a good first 45 minutes," said United head coach Manny Lagos.
The first goal of the game came on a run of fast-paced build up play, Kevin Venegas played a great cross-field to Lucas Rodriguez who played the first-time ball across the goal mouth that found the boot of Pablo Campos who slotted it home for his 10thgoal of the season.
United keeper Mitch Hildebrandt making his first start in front of the home fans had his first good save of the match in the 20thminute after Yakiel Perez found some space on the edge of the box.
Minnesota was forced to make an early sub in the 21stwhen defender Connor Tobin went down with an apparent leg injury, making way for the soon-to-retire Kevin Friedland.
Minnesota decidedly went with a different strategy and formation in the first half, playing a more central game in the middle third, choosing to build up vertically. United used the speed of Miguel Ibarra on the inside of the formationto pressure the Striker's defenders down the spine of the pitch. This strategy allowedthe wing backs, Kevin Venegas and Justin Davis to push forward on the outside of the field to provide width in support.
The Strikers equalized in the 28thminute on a second effort shot from the foot of Carlos Salazar. A free kick was whipped into the box and Salazar got the initial header that was cleared off the line by substitute Kevin Friedland,only to fall right back into the path of Salazar who blasted in the half volley.
Right before the halftime whistle a Floyd Franks corner found the head of Pablo Campos who knocked it down into the path of United captain Aaron Pitchkolan who, while being dragged down, got a sliding boot on the ball and it finds the back of the net, good for his second goal of the season.
United will look to send the home fans away with a win in the second half in the final home contest of the season.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|