With just 15 minutes remaining in the second half and leading 2-0 it looked like Minnesota United would coast to victory in the MLS Western Conference finals in Seattle on Monday night. Then came the final 15 minutes of play and 5 minutes of stoppage time, and perhaps the greatest collapse in Minnesota sports history in a 3-2 loss to the Sounders.
First it was a Will Bruin goal for Seattle in the 75th minute to pull the Sounders within one at 2-1. Then in the 89th minute, off a left-side corner kick by Lodeiro, the ball was flicked across to Ruidiaz on the right and he drilled it past St. Clair to draw Seattle even at 2-2 just before the start of stoppage time. Then in stoppage time it was once again the Sounders breaking through as Svensson drilled a header off a corner kick in the final minute of stoppage time, for the 3-2 game winner to end the Loons’ playoff run and the collapse was complete.
Head coach Adrian Heath was understandably disheartened afterwards. “Yeah, it’s hard. This will be the last time this group of guys are together, and for it to end the way it did tonight, in that fashion, after 75 really good minutes I thought…we knew it was going to be a tough one tonight, and we kind of…we bent, but we didn’t break for a majority of the game. I’m just sick to my stomach obviously, everyone in that locker room is sick to their stomach. I think we fell short obviously this evening and there will be a lot of soul searching, I think, from individuals and as collectives, but you know, it was a great year, but absolutely disappointing tonight.”
” It’s a cruel game when you’re on the receiving end of it. But, you know, I said to you guys before, I was a bit concerned about the lack of rest that we’ve had. I thought that was pretty apparent this evening. I can’t fault the guys for their effort. What they’ve done this year has been remarkable. Because I know what we’ve been through internally. But, you know, I think that the extra two days that they had was a huge advantage. And, I’m glad I mentioned this before the game to the press, because it’s not an excuse. But, late on, we were sort of running on empty a little bit and obviously when you do that, you concede space and suddenly they’ve got extra bodies in the box and you leave yourself vulnerable. Unfortunately, that’s what happened.”