Loons do little things to produce a 3-1 over last-place Kansas City

Minnesota United’s two hottest players — Tani Oluwaseyi and Robin Lod — scored goals Saturday, but it was the little preceding plays that were the underlying production in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City at Allianz Field.

Sang Bin Jeong’s pressing action caused a Kansas City turnover before Oluwaseyi’s goal in the first half, and Devin Padelford’s long throw-in set up Oluwaseyi’s assist on Lod’s goal in the second half.

Padelford’s toss was noticed. Dayne St. Clair ran out from his goal to praise the left wingback. Head coach Eric Ramsay also showed appreciation from the touchline.

MNUFC (8-3-4, 28 points) got back in the win column after dropping points in its past two matches and moved into third place in Western Conference. They kept last-place Kansas City (2-9-5, 11 points) down; Sporting has now lost seven straight and are winless in 10.

Kervin Arriaga also did important little work, but he did so to set up his goal in the 83rd minute. His sprint on an overlapping run put him in a great spot to blast a shot into the inside netting.

“We notice the things in a big way because it’s a big part of what we try and do,” Ramsay said. “They sit behind in what we do in a very genuine, strategic way. It’s really pleasing about each of those goals that maybe go unnoticed.”

Part of Ramsay’s philosophy is to point out the plays behind the plays. They come in acknowledgements amid video sessions during the week at the National Sports Center.

“I’m big on making sure you catch the players doing things well, so they feel as though they’ve got rewards for a body of work that sits behind it, an act or a period of play,” Ramsay said. “Then I think it’s really important they see that. We tend to take that approach more than constant correction.”

Oluwaseyi, who added to his team lead with his seventh goal of the season, has blossomed under Ramsay.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been with a coach who has this attention to detail,” Oluwaseyi said. “There are so many little movements in games that we don’t take notice of because so many things are happening. But (Ramsay) does a good job of picking up very specific moments.”

Ramsay has had Padelford and Michael Boxall audition for the long throw-ins in training, and before Saturday’s game, Ramsay pointed out how the player’s pressing actions helped them go on a six-match unbeaten run through last weekend.

“Ever since he’s gotten here we’ve bought into what he does and week by week the preparation gets better and better,” Padelford said. “I think he gets more comfortable in the sense of knowing a lot of our tendencies now, where we are successful and how we’ve gotten results. I think he does a really good job of finding little individual moments.”


The U.S. women’s national team will play South Korea in a friendly match at Allianz Field on Tuesday night. The USWNT beat South Korea 4-0 on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. New head coach Emma Hayes won her debut match. Mallory Swanson and Tierna Davidson each scored two goals. … Caden Clark was scratched from the starting XI less than an hour before kickoff due to a toe injury suffered in Friday’s training session. He was slated to make another appearance as a right wingback. DJ Taylor stepped in for Clark, but he had to exit with a hamstring injury in the first half. He might be out for a bit. Joseph Rosales then came off the bench. … MNUFC will have eight players head to national team duties next week, including Dayne St. Clair, Lod, Teemu Pukki, Rosales, Arriaga, Carlos Harvey, Alejandro Bran and Zarek Valentin. They will all miss next Saturday’s match versus FC Dallas. … Rosales received his fifth yellow card Saturday, meaning he will serve a one-game suspension for accumulation after his Honduran national team duty is over, per MLS rules. Rosales will be banned for the away match vs. Seattle Sounders on June 15, not the Dallas game. … Loons center back Micky Tapias is headed to Mexico next week for his U.S. green card appointment. With all the international absences, the timing is not ideal, but the club needs to get it done before the summer transfer window opens to pave a way for new foreign additions.