By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott
Following the last regular season game against Vancouver, the Loons were able to find momentum going into the Dallas game. The Loons would be asking themselves for more as it was a tough ask to win against FC Dallas. The first half started with the teams feeling each other out.
Both sides were evenly matched with Dallas and Minnesota each exchanging shots on net. Dallas maintained 60% of the possession but the Loons were able to hold their own thanks to a strong back line presence and incredible saves by goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.
The first half ended in a 0-0 draw with both teams asking for more. It was certainly an entertainer for fans to take in.
In the second half, both teams would exchange chances near the goal. The combination of higher intensity and aggressiveness would be key to the rest of the match. This would lead to the greatest opportunity of the game in the 53rd minute when Bongi Hlongwane dribbled into the box and dished the ball off to Emanuel Reynoso for an incredible left foot finish into the bottom of the net.
But in the 64th minute, Dallas was able to get a goal of their own off the corner kick from Matt Hedges to be headed into the goal by Facundo Quignon, 1-1.
Goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair played quite well and made numerous saves throughout the game. After the 90 minutes of full time, the match would head to 30 minutes of extra time. Both sides did a few substitutions in order to get fresh legs into the game. Both teams went back and forth and none could break the deadlock.
With the end of the additional 30 minutes of extra time, the game would be decided by penalty kicks. This would ultimately determine the fate of the Loons 2022 season. Dallas converted all five of their penalties while the Loons got four out of the five and Captain Will Trapp missed his shot.
Another disappointing end to the season as the Loons appeared to have fallen short again. Hopefully next year will be better!
As for the postseason, the guys are off for a short period of time and will resume training in early January before the season starts in late February or early March.
With the FIFA World Cup coming up in late November, Dayne St. Clair will be with the Canadian national team but it remains to be seen if he will actually get any playing time.
As for the Loons, The off-season will come with new changes to the team personnel. A decent amount of players that were on the bench predominately will leave and begin new chapters. Many of the top players with the likes of Reynoso, Lod, and St. Clair will stay.
The new changes I expect to see will be a younger center back, more strikers as we need attacking ability, and more strength in depth for midfield as well, possible goalkeeper changes if Tyler Miller leaves the club too.
Looking forward to the next season and seeing how the club makes changes to further improve our team as we once again start over to make our playoff push.