Minnesota United Vs San Jose Earthquakes: 3 things we learned – ‘Underdog’ Loons advance

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REUNION, FLORIDA – AUGUST 01: Jacori Hayes #5 of Minnesota United celebrates after scoring the second goal of his team during a quarter final match of MLS Is Back Tournament against San Jose Earthquakes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on August 01, 2020 in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Minnesota United dispatched the San Jose Earthquakes in a thumping 4-1 win to book their place in the MLS is Back semi-finals. Here are three things we learned.

On Saturday night, Minnesota United produced one of the performances of the MLS is Back Tournament to dispatch the previously firing San Jose Earthquakes in a sumptuous 4-1 victory, booking their place in the semi-finals.

It was a superb counter-attacking performance from a team that has repeatedly been cast as the ‘underdogs’. Adrian Heath plays up to the moniker, while his team relish being overlooked and undervalued. Here, though, there was only one winner and they established their elite quality.

Here are three things we learned from Minnesota United’s 4-1 win.

REUNION, FLORIDA – AUGUST 01: Hassani Dotson #31 of Minnesota United celebrates after assisting Marlon Hairston #94 (not in frame) for the fourth goal of their team during a quarter final match of MLS Is Back Tournament between San Jose Earthquakes and Minnesota United at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on August 01, 2020 in Reunion, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

3. Hassani Dotson, Jacori Hayes shine

With the roaming, roving Romain Metanire, someone who many consider to be the best right-back in all of MLS, absent through injury, as well as Kevin Molino only fit to make the bench, questions were being asked about whether Minnesota United could field a competitive starting XI without two key players. Well, with Hassani Dotson and Jacori Heyes, the Loons didn’t miss a beat.

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Heyes slotted into central midfield wonderfully. Playing on the right side of the trio as a box-to-box option instead of the more traditional number 10 in Molino, he helped press San Jose in a timely manner out of possession before carrying the ball dangerously and purposefully when in possession. His breaks into the box also handed him a crucial second goal.

Dotson, meanwhile, was excellent at right-back. He handled Valeri Qazaishvili with relative ease, played a key role in the opening two goals, delivering a dangerous cross and driving into the penalty area himself after pushing into the final third, and was an athletic presence down the right flank throughout. In the end, neither Molino nor Metanire were missed whatsoever.

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