Ugly upset: Minnesota United loses to third-tier Union Omaha in U.S. Open Cup
When Minnesota United scored an easy sixth-minute goal against Union Omaha on Wednesday, it looked like the top-flight MLS side would make quick work of the third-tier USL outfit in the U. It had shades of when the Loons trounced New Mexico United 6-1 in the 2019 quarterfinals of the national tournament. Instead, Omaha scored an equalizing goal just before halftime, took the lead just after the break and pulled off a massive 2-1 upset. This is clearly in contention for Minnesota’s worst loss in club history. Heath said Tuesday Union Omaha would be treated with the respect they deserve.
Heath still started two Designated Players in Luis Amarilla and Adrien Hunou. Omaha will play on the road against Houston Dynamo or Sporting Kansas City in the quarterfinals on June 21-22. The Loons were unbeaten in three Open Cup games against lower-level competition since 2017, with a victory in penalty kicks over FC Cincinnati in 2018 before they joined MLS and New Mexico United in 2019, when they advanced to the championship match, losing 2-1 to Atlanta United. The Round of 16 had 13 MLS sides, two from the second-division USL Championship and one, Omaha, from the third-tier USL League One. Minnesota broke down Omaha’s defense in the sixth minute with a nifty combo of Kervin Arriaga to Franco Fragapane feeding Hunou for a 1-0 lead.
Captain Michael Boxall made an appeal for Kemetani being offside, but to no avail. Boxall’s failed header clearance in the 51st minute went backward and straight to Joseph Brito, who roofed a shot past Dick in the 51st minute. Arriaga had blood coming from his nose after a collision with Omaha’s Noe Meza in the 27th minute. The Loons had a very short bench with only four field players that went even thinner after Rosales’ first-half sub. With an eye on the MLS game against New York City on Saturday, Heath said he wouldn’t risk any player, and that’s why leading scorer Lod was out with a groin injury.
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