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Loons squander two Ethan Finlay goals in 2-2 draw with Houston – Twin Cities

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Minnesota United went on to compile incomplete report cards on Sunday. They neither pass nor fail and they don’t really improve on the club’s increasingly shaky playoff spot in the Western Conference.

After taking a 2-0 lead in the first half, the Loons gave up two goals in the second half to settle for a 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo on a cold Allianz Field.

This was the same score as when Houston came from the same deficit on September 19 in a 2-2 tie in Texas. On Sunday, the Dynamo almost took the lead, but a header from Darwin Cerens hit the bar in the 89th minute.

“With fifteen minutes to go, I thought we would hold on,” United coach Adrian Heath said on Fox Sports North.

United continued to submit mediocre results and failed to keep a team down in the Western Conference rankings. Minnesota has only had one win in the past seven games.

United winger Ethan Finlay missed seven games with a knee injury before his return to Nashville on October 6, but the main reminder in that game was that he failed to beat the goalkeeper in a winless draw on a breakaway.

Then, with two COVID-19 fears, the Duluth-born player had sat on that memory in a 12-day layoff without a game.

The Loons had scored two goals in their previous three games, so early goals on Sunday helped alleviate a lack of sharpness with no training sessions and two games postponed due to two positive cases and a third false positive test since October 17.

The notable absence from Loons’ starting line-up on Sunday was central attacking midfielder Emanuel Reynoso. Reserves Jose Aja and Thomas Chacon were also absent. MLS and Loons policy is not to share the identities of those who have contracted coronavirus.

Former Loons legend Christian Ramirez, Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer from 2014-18, was left out of the Houston matchday lineup due to his own positive COVID-19 test followed by negative tests, and he stayed in Texas.

Darwin Quintero, another former star at United, started on the left wing and nearly tied the score in the 79th minute. Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair’s knee shifted it.

The Loons club record shutout streak ended at 349 minutes after Houston knocked off Jacori Hayes in midfield. They started a breakaway and Memo Rodriguez cut the Loons’ lead to 2-1 in the 59th minute.

St. Clair helped keep the run alive in the 33rd minute, when his fingertips were just enough from Maurao Manotass’s long range attack to distract him from the crossbar.

De Loons were forced to make an early substitution when Hassan Dotson was eliminated by Adam Lundkvist in the ninth minute. Ozzie Alonso intervened after missing the past seven games with a hamstring injury.

Alonso and Quintero came into a fraction in the second half. Alonso played a ball after a delay; Quintero countered and pushed Alonso in the back, and Alonso followed Quintero a few paces. They exchanged words before the game resumed.

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