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Loons come back to beat Portland Timbers 2-1

Minnesota United attempted to refresh its starting lineup after a draw with L.A. Galaxy on Wednesday, but it was two second-half subs who logged the bulk of playing time midweek who produced goals in a 2-1 win over Portland Timbers at Allianz Field.

Robin Lod scored the equalizing goal in the 65th minute and Sang Bin Jeong netted the game-winner in the 82nd.

With the late push, MNUFC (7-2-3, 24 points) extended its unbeaten streak to five games, while Portland (3-7-4, 13 points) has won one of its last 11 matches.

Lod’s goal was his 28th for the Loons in all competitions and it moved the Finnish international past Darwin Quintero and Emanuel Reynoso into first place in club history. He was also able to reach the mark in front of his visiting father.

“It feels good and it’s an honor,” Lod said in his typical understated way. “I guess it means I’m doing something well.”

The club honored Lod with a T-shirt with his name and amount of goals scored on it. “Hopefully we will have many more (goals),” Lod said.

For Jeong, it was his first goal in nine-plus games this season and only his second since joining MNUFC last spring.

United trailed at halftime, but opportunities to get back in the game would be there. The Timbers had allowed the second-most goals (27) in MLS coming into Saturday’s game, and they left as the only team in MLS history to give up multiple goals in 10 straight games.

MNUFC went down to 10 men with Micky Tapias sent off in stoppage time, but fended off late Timbers chances.

“I was really pleased with the way we won the game,” Ramsay said. “Not necessarily the manner from a technical nor tactical perspective but to see the game out the way we did was really, really impressive. That is the mark of a team that is really together.”

MNUFC controlled the start of the game and Teemu Pukki missed a great chance in the 13th minute. Portland made the Loons pay. Striker Jonathan Rodriguez got behind Michel Boxall and slotted a shot past Dayne St. Clair for a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute.

In the 28th minute, Minnesota attacker Bongi Hlongwane appeared to be taken down in the box by Kamal Miller, but referee Jair Marrufo and VAR determined it was not a penalty.

“Miller wins position and Bongi falls over,” Marrufo said reply to a written question from a reporter. “Bongi never reacts or says anything about the right decision. No foul, it’s normal football contact.”

Coach Eric Ramsay’s bold lineup choices continued Saturday with five changes. He made a rare four-player substitution to bring in Lod, Jeong, Kervin Arriaga and Tani Oluwaseyi in the 56th minute.

“Everyone will point undoubtedly to the changes and the way the momentum shifted in the second half, but I’ll say it’s not quite as easy as the narrative appears because we were really dominate in the first half,” Ramsay said. “We did have a load of chances in the first half. Typically in the second half at home we finish games really strongly, I don’t think it’s quite so easy to say the changes are the difference, but obviously they certainly played their part.

Lod came in for Carlos Harvey, who made his first start for MNUFC, and later DJ Taylor came in for Pukki and he assisted on Jeong’s game-winning goal.

Briefly

Loons center back Micky Tapias received a red card Saturday and will be suspended for Saturday’s game at Colorado Rapids. Late in Saturday’s first half, Rodriguez and Caden Clark jawed with each other after a ball went out of bounds. St. Clair stood up for his teammate and so did Tapias, who shoved Rodriguez. A few Timbers players come to defend Rodriguez as Ramsay and others broke up the skirmish. Tapias received a yellow card for his shove and then received a second yellow card for a challenge in second-half stoppage time. … Woodbury native Eric Miller subbed on for Portland. … Clark made his first start as a right wingback for the Loons. … Arriaga, who is dealing with a slight hamstring injury, came off the bench; Devin Padelford had started in that center back spot.