The two sides struggled to find quality chances in the first half, putting just six shots on goal between them. But goals from Emanuel Reynoso and Facundo Quignon just ten minutes apart help set the stage for a back-and-forth affair that went into extra time.
Minnesota broke the deadlock just seven minutes into the second half as FC Dallas failed to clear the ball outside of their penalty box. Jose Martinez had a challenge on Bongokuhle Hlongwane but his touch on the ball made its way to Reynoso who easily fired a ball past Maarten Paes.
Ten minutes later FC Dallas tied it up on a corner kick from Velasco. The curling ball went to Matt Hedges who flicks it onto the back post where Quignon was there to head it in.
In the 20th minute of extra time, FC Dallas looked like they finally broke the Loons’ defense as Sebastian Lletget’s backheel nearly beat St. Clair but the Minnesota keeper managed to keep the ball from going over the goal line.
The game went into penalty kicks with Reynoso scoring first for Minnesota. Franco Jara then scored for FC Dallas. Paes made a big stop on Wil Trapp before Lletget put Dallas in the lead. Minnesota tied it up with a goal from Kelvin Arriaga before Matt Hedges put Dallas back in the lead. Minnesota then tied it again with Alan Benítez. Jesus Ferreira put Dallas back on top. Mender García tied it again for Minnesota but Velasco put away a real cheeky goal to win it.
Instant reaction: This one certainly had the feeling of two teams that knew each other extremely well and had pretty much every aspect of each other’s games scouted to a tee. Minnesota seemed to know exactly how FC Dallas liked to pass through the midfield and into the attack.
Dallas had their chances and nearly made the most of them late in the game. But it was the penalty kicks that decided this one. For now, FC Dallas will have to regroup, recover and find a way to get ready for Sunday’s game in Austin.
Man of the Match: Give it to Velasco for the way he hustled on the night and then scored the cheekiest of penalties to win it.
What’s next for FC Dallas: The conference semifinals are set for Sunday evening in the state capital against Austin FC.