MINNEAPOLIS -- Darwin Quintero scored one goal and assisted on two others to help host Minnesota United FC edge Real Salt Lake 3-2 on Saturday night, July 14.
The win was just the second in six games for the Loons. Minnesota (7-11-1, 22 points) overcame a sluggish first-half effort on offense with big play after big play from Quintero.
The Loons needed every last one of those plays. Salt Lake (9-9-2, 29 points) nearly erased a three-goal deficit behind late heroics from Joao Plata. It wasn't enough to help RSL avoid losing for the eighth time in 10 road matches this season (1-8-1).
Both clubs struggled to generate any meaningful scoring chances before halftime. RSL had a 5-2 advantage in total shots over Minnesota in the first half. Each team put a single shot on frame.
That all changed in the second half.
Ibson opened the floodgates in the 51st minute. Quintero crossed into Ibson as he streaked down the center of the box and he threaded the ball inside the left post. Then in the 62nd minute, Quintero finished off a second Minnesota goal. He dribbled to the edge of the penalty area and chipped a shot over Nick Rimando's head and inside the far post.
Minnesota staked out a 3-0 lead on another goal set up by Quintero. He blasted it forward to Miguel Ibarra in the 68th minute. Ibarra got ahead of the defense and, with just Rimando to beat, hit a left-footer perfectly in stride and threaded it inside the near post.
Plata nearly erased the Loons' lead by himself late in the half after coming in as a sub in the 66th minute. He pulled a goal back in the 77th minute after successfully executing a free kick. Then, Plata got the brace in the 85th minute. Brooks Lennon chipped a cross into Plata and he headed it home to cut Minnesota's lead to one.